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Three Sisters: another EU Theatre success

The play Three Sisters has been advertised all over campus – you cannot miss it. It ran Nov. 12-16 at 8 p.m. with early showings on Nov. 15 and 16, and the audience filled every available space on stage.

On Nov. 13, the play featured sophomore Caitlyn Shaffstall as the character Olga, sophomore Kat Moorman as Marsha, and junior Caetlynn Myer as Irina. Due to a shortage of female roles in the play, the roles of Olga and Irina were also played by sophomore Kristin Smither and junior Kaylee Goodwin on alternate evenings.

Seating surrounded the stage so the audience could have a close connection with the characters. As soon as the lights dimmed, the eyes of the audience focused on the stage.

The play begins with the sound of a piano. Olga, the eldest sister of the three, walks around and prepares lunch with the maid, Anfisa, played by Janelle Boyd. Irina, the youngest sister, stands near the couch, deep in thought, while Masha, the middle sister, starts to whisper while pondering over her book.

Olga, an intelligent girl is the voice of rationality among her sisters. Masha married Kulygin (first-year Michael Guerra) at the age of 18 and was disappointed with her life. She then met Vershinin, played by Eastern graduate Andy Waldschmidt, and fell in love with him. Irina is full of hope and happiness and believes that hardwork can solve the problems in the world. Her fiancé, Tuzenback (junior Lee Brewer) dies the day before their marriage, defending her honor in a duel.

The sisters’ brother, Andrei (senior Jon Bradstreet), wants to be a professor and ends up marrying Natasha (sophomore Rebecca Coppola). Natasha, full of ambition, stirs up trouble among the Prozorovs.

The three sisters try to find happiness in every situation, and in the end their hope carries them through. The play is about the journey of life that we go through every day. Each character tries to resolve their needs and hopes in different ways, but their journeys end in sorrow and emptiness. “The more they desire to reach them, the further away they get,” said Mark Hallen, director of the theatre department.

The audience’s laughter and giggles broke the silence and heavy atmosphere of the play, as they watched the characters’ awkward actions and unexpected words. The way Chekhov writes is dramatic, sad and depressing, but somehow humors the audience.

“It does not try to be funny, but the characters happen to be fun,” Goodwin said. “This is their lives.”

Three Sisters is directed, co-adapted, and produced by Mark Hallen, along with Liz Carlson. Hallen introduced Chekhov’s plays to the students in the advanced acting class. He mentioned that the funny and beautiful characters sketched in the story drew interest and attention from the students.

“I hope that each member of the audience can relate to one of the characters,” Waldschmidt said.

Goodwin remarked that the tension in the play is similar to the tension we all face in life. “Hopefully (the audience has) a chance to look at themselves,” Goodwin said.

In the last scene, the three sisters are left alone, exhausted; yet cheerful music plays in the background. In spite of suffering through tragic situations, the sisters find strength and hope to move on with their lives.

“Our suffering will be transformed into happiness for those who live after us,” Smither said.

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