Tuesday, 5 August 2008

Three Sisters

I watched a performance of Chekhov's Three Sisters on Saturday night. I can't say that it was an uplifting story, but I think it was an uplifting message.

Overall, I felt the theme was one of choice and circumstance. The central protagonists began the play trapped in their situations and spent the rest of the play struggling with it, all the while yearning to leave their rural town and move to Moscow. For them, the Thing that would alleviate their suffering was Moscow, but it was always out of reach because they were confined by the social circumstances in which they found themselves. Ultimately, their final situations were the product of choice, or a lack of choice (or better still, a choice of lack).

The whole play resonated with me because of this theme. Life without a reason is absurd. Absurdity requires nothing of you and gives nothing to you. Any meaning that you find in an absurd universe is probably the result of choice. Any self-realisation or fulfilment is the result of choice. Thumbs up to Chekhov for this one.

Aesthetically, the performance was fascinating. The whole thing was in Russian, with surtitles for those of us without that language. It felt Russian at every level, not just the language. The performances were dynamic and drew me in. The stage was a great stream of contrast between action and stillness. I enjoyed the experience immensely.
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