by Anton Chekhov
Sydney Theatre Company Opera House

Its 1990 and the Drama Theatre at the Opera House is choked with a crowd ranging from ponies, socialites and pseudo-intellectuals with round glasses (despite not needing them), to your extremely average Aussie (sporting Best and Less jumper). We’re here to see a Russian play from 1900, concerning despair, courage, love, vision and work.

Pick the odd one out. Work? Ten points. Yes, it’s ais Russian as they come; little commububbles of philosophy everywhere – that the way to true Spiritual Wholeness is through spirited, sweaty work.
Pamela Rabe in Three SistersSo how is your average Tom going to connect with this? In the Land of the Lunchbreak, he doesn’t want to be reminded that his nine-to-five tomorrow-is doing him the world of good. This aside, the pseudo-intellectuals will be thrilled to bits—this is what they came for – the gutsy origins of Communism filling their minds for three hours while Russia is off making pacts with the United States.
Not forgetting the single-and-desperate mid-thirties bimbos, lapping up their weekly culture, in the hope of solidifying their brains into something more promising than Weet-Fix mush.
‘Three Sisters’ has something for everyone – politics, culicha, and some clever little witticisms to keep the yobbos awake. The play itself is certainly SAFE (hey – it’s a classic), so the STC isn’t creatively breaking any rules (once again); and just that weensy bit romantic to melancholy-ize Richard Wherret’s departure as the Company’s director.
The cast were great—the ‘Sisters’ outstanding, with their glossy hopeful eyes as they dream of going back to Moscow (they live in a town slightly smaller than Gosfordi – the programme tells us so). Their only problem is that they don’t believe in themselves enough to do it, and they settle down in their province with lives they didn’t expect, but should have seen coming light years away. Which is probably what makes Chekhov’s play saddest of all – the hope and dreaming are unfulfilled, like so many of the audience thinking that their lives are full of the same hope and dreaming; and what they are really full of is paucity of thinking and pathetic flogging of some personality they long to be.

Source: Tharunka / 13 August 1990

Photo: Stuart Campbell

Venue Drama Theatre (Sydney Opera House), Sydney, NSW
First Date 1 August 1990
Opening Date 1 August 1990
Last Date 8 September 1990
Dates Estimated No
Status Professional
World Premiere No
Description “In Three Sisters, Chekhov sets out to explore the limits of human aspiration”. Chekov’s tragic masterpiece of withered dreams and heartbreaking reality is haunting and beautiful.
Description Source Reviewer’s Opinion
Primary Genre Theatre – Spoken Word
  • Sydney Theatre Company, Presenting Company