Experiencing disappointment in life is universally relevant. PlayMakers Repertory Company’s production of Chekhov’s “Three Sisters” acknowledges this, and honors the play’s theatrical history.
This is the final weekend for the PlayMakers production. Its last show is this Sunday, Feb. 7.
PlayMakers’ production captures the complexity of the characters’ relationships and the pain of unmet expectations. These complex relationships center on the Prozorov sisters, Olga, Masha, and Irina; their brother, Andrei, and his wife, Natalya; their romantic interests; and small town friendships.
The characters’ unraveling lives were beautifully reflected in the evolution of the set, designed by Alexis Distler. What begins as an elegant home full of warm wooden surfaces and bouquets of flowers ends as a nearly empty stage with only a piano and a bare, wooden house frame. The small Russian town empties so much that it echoes, suggesting the sisters’ empty future. A reoccurring ticking of a clock reminds the characters of their worst fears — that they will soon forget and be forgotten and that their lives are meaningless — and a featured cello connected and dramatized scenes.
Though a modified script, adapted by Libby Appel, the production is still Chekhov’s story of limiting social structures and a crumbling Russian family. The actors, directed by the new producing artistic director Vivienne Benesch, allow their characters to dwindle and suffer, and the performances are professional and engaging.