A secret known to all of those who work in the theatre is that sometimes the most “magical” moments in the life of a particular production occur in the rehearsal hall just before the show moves into the theatre. Without elaborate sets, costumes, lighting or special effects, the play is conveyed purely by the conviction of the actors and the beauty of the text itself, aided only by few sticks of furniture and the odd hand prop.It is this special intimacy the theatre department is attempting to capture in its upcoming “chamber production” of Chekhov’s early 20th century masterpiece Three Sisters. For the occasion, the rehearsal hall on the first floor of the Fine Arts Building will be converted into an intimate 60-seat studio theatre. With no barrier between actors and audience, Chekhov’s masterpiece will unfold with a warmth and naturalness impossible to achieve in a larger theatrical venue.
Three Sisters is arguably the seminal drama of the 20th century. Written in 1900, it anticipates by more than 50 years the plays of Beckett, Pinter, Stoppard and Mamet, all of whom learned from Chekhov that in a play, time need not be strictly linear but rather can be a series of encounters that echo, repeat and expand themes of love, longing, despair and hope.
As an ensemble piece Three Sisters is already structured as chamber music and will be performed by an “orchestra” of students from the third year of the acting program, with support from several first- and second-year actors. Guest performers include retired English professor and long time associate of the theatre program, Martin Ware, and well-known local actor/singer and broadcaster Mike Payne. In keeping with our long standing policy of having students perform alongside experienced professional actors, the key role of Vershinin will be played by veteran actor/director Jerry Etienne who is a visiting professor and guest artist with the theatre program this semester.
Three Sisters is directed by fine arts head Ken Livingstone with design co-ordination by theatre chair Carol Nelson.
Remember there are only 60 seats for each performance so book early! Please join us for this unique “great reckoning in a little room.”
Three Sisters will be performed nightly at 8 p.m. in the rehearsal hall of the Fine Arts Building from Monday, Feb. 25, to Saturday, March 1. Tickets are available at the Grenfell College Bookstore or at the box office on the evening of each performance. Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for students and seniors. For more information call 637-6223.
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