The Three Sisters (Russian production)

By: Anton Chekhov
Director: Galina Volchek
Sets: Pytor Kirillov and Vyacheslav Zaitsev
Costumes: Vyacheslav Zaitsev
Music: Moisey Vainberg
Opened: 11/96 at the Lunt-Fontanne Theater
Cast: Boris Ovcharenko, Yelena Yakovleva, Galina Petrova, Marina Neyolova, Yekaterina Semyonova, Grennady Frolov, Valentin Gaft, Valery Shalnykh, and Mikhail Zhibalov.

There's only one element lacking in the Moscow Theater Sovremennik's Broadway debut — it was much too short a run! The troupe's wrenching production of this Chekhovian saga is performed in Russian with English spoken over headsets. Just shy of 3 1/2 hours, the domestic drama of lost love and shattered faith unwinds on sparsely furnished sets with a simple, elegant velvet curtain backdrop. The eponymous sororal trio includes the eldest Olga (Petrova), middle sister Masha (Neyolova), who's in love with a man not her husband, and youthful Irina (Semyonova), whose naivete sours to bitter reality. The sisters live in the provincial home of their late father, fantasizing about escape. Boasting a cast of tremendous depth and talent, the troupe was founded 40 years ago in artistic opposition to the repressive Soviet regime. In its brief stint stateside, the company bestowed just five stagings, as well as three performances of Eugenia Ginzburg's new Into the Whirlwind.