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The Three Sisters

By: Anton Chekhov
Translation: Lanford Wilson
Director: Scott Elliott
Sets: Derek McLane
Costumes: Theoni V. Aldredge
Lighting: Peter Kaczorowski
Sound: Raymond D. Schilke
Hair and Wig Design: Paul Huntley;
Opened: 2/97 at the Roundabout Theater
Cast: Billy Crudup, Calista Flockhart, Paul Giamatti, David Marshall Grant, Amy Irving, Jerry Stiller, Eric Stolz, David Straithairn, Lili Taylor and Jeanne Tripplehorn

With the exception of a few performances, this production of Chekhov's play about loneliness is restrained and virtually passionless. Straithairn as Vershinin does an exemplary job as the unhappily married lieutenant who visits the Prozorov sisters in their dreary backwater town from the city of their dreams, Moscow. Of the three sisters (Irving, Tripplehorn and Taylor), only Irving (as Olga) manages to reveal any significant depth of character. When her new sister-in-law Natalya (Flockhart) takes over her duties as hostess of the house, the heartbroken Olga becomes visibly pale, almost literally fading into the woodwork. Flockhart's performance as the self-absorbed sister-in-law provides one of the few flickers of life in this bewilderingly listless production. Ironically, this production contrasts sharply with director Elliott's over-the-top presentation of Present Laughter, which he helmed earlier in the season.