Chekhov: Three Sisters
Chekhov’s penultimate play has inspired a bewildering variety of
interpretations – both in criticism and in performance – since its
premiere at the Moscow Arts Theatre in 1901. Tri sestry has
been viewed both as tragedy and comedy, as a testimony for the eternal
yearnings for love, happiness and meaning, and as a devastating
indictment of the folly of inert gentility. Its characters have been
seen as worthy embodiments of the universal ‘human condition’, or as
passive products of pre-revolutionary Russian privilege. Either way,
the sisters are poignant reminders of human disappointment,
frustration, loneliness and the passage of time. The play remains a
firm favourite with audiences, both in Russia and in the
English-speaking world, and must be considered a fundamental work of
twentieth-century European drama.
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