The Three Sisters first run left critics lukewarm but greatly excited the public. “The story of the three sisters,” a contemporary writer exclaimed, “is not a fiction, not a fantasy, but a fact, an event, something every bit as real as the stock options at the Savings Bank.” This course is designed to enter into the worlds that Chekhov’s drama opens to readers, directors, actors, and spectators. We look first at the text and its cultural context. We then follow The Three Sisters to other times and places and into film. Throughout, we’ll use scene work, attempting to bring the piece alive, culminating in a presentation of the full play.
Sample reading list:
Anton Chekhov, The Three Sisters (Paul Schmidt translation)
Anton Chekhov, Selected Correspondence
Laurence Senelick, ed., Anton Chekhov’s Selected Plays
David Allen, Performing Chekhov
Victor Emelijanow, Chekhov, the Critical Heritage
Robert Louis Jackson, Reading Chekhov’s Text
Reading: 50-75 pages per week. Paper in lieu of mid-term. Three brief (1-2 pp) written assignments.
Prerequisites and Restrictions:
The class is open to students with no acting experience as well as those with significant experience. However, everyone will be expected to do scene work. This class will meet during Reading Period..
Wednesday classes devoted to the study of Chekhov and his play The Three Sisters — its meaning, history, cultural context, and the various treatments it has received from scholars, playwrights, and filmmakers over the past century. Friday sessions are devoted to rehearsals for the production of the play in which the students will be involved and which will constitute the final project for the semester.