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Three Sisters


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AT: The Three Sisters A: Anton Chekhov Pf: 1901, Moscow Pb: 1901 Tr: 1916 G: Drama in 4 acts; Russian prose S: The Prozorovs' house and garden, Russian provincial town, 1900 C: 9m, 5f, extrasThe Prozorovs, Andrey and his three sisters, live out a tedious existence in the provinces, brought there when their late father was posted from Moscow 11 years previously. Andrey is engaged to a boorish and grasping local girl Natasha. The eldest sister Olga is a schoolteacher, still unmarried at the age of 28. The second daughter Masha is unhappily married to a boring schoolmaster, and the youngest Irina is celebrating her twentieth birthday. Guests come to the house, including the new arrival from Moscow Vershinin. Eighteen months later Andrey is married and so bored that he takes up gambling. Vershinin has fallen in love with Masha, but is worried about his neurotic and suicidal wife. Natasha rides out with a former suitor. Two further years pass. A fire is raging in the town. Olga collects clothes for the homeless, Natasha is openly pursuing an affair. Because of his debts, Andrey has had to mortgage the house. Irina considers a proposal from an army lieutenant, Baron Tuzenbach, but only if this will get her to Moscow. A little while later the battery are leaving town, and Irina will marry Tuzenbach and go to Moscow with him. Masha says farewell to Vershinin. News comes that Tuzenbach has been killed in a meaningless duel, and the three sisters resign themselves once more to their hollow existence.

AT: The Three Sisters A: Anton Chekhov Pf: 1901, Moscow Pb: 1901 Tr: 1916 G: Drama in 4 acts; Russian prose S: The Prozorovs' house and garden, Russian provincial town, 1900 C: 9m, 5f, extras

Apart from the muted offstage death of Tuzenbach, very little happens in this play, thus setting a pattern for a 20th-century theatre that is not necessarily based on external action. Instead, the piece saunters through some four years in the lives of the visitors and inhabitants of a Russian provincial town, where the great desire of the three sisters is for escape to Moscow, just as some half a century later two figures imagine that all will be put to right when Godot comes.

Subjects: Literary Studies (Plays and Playwrights).


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Authors

Anton Chekhov (1860—1904) Russian dramatist and short-story writer


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