It was just a year ago that the Cincinnati Playhouse offered an enigmatic production of Anton Chekhov's The Three Sisters. It was staged by Tony Award winner John Doyle with an A-list Broadway cast, but Doyle's deconstructed take on the show had many audience members walking out at intermission. If you'd like to see what the show is really about, UC's CCM Drama program is offering a straightforward staging of the drama about three women trapped in a provincial town where their late military father had relocated his family.
They yearn to return to Moscow and to what they imagine as more vivid lives, but circumstances keep making that impossible, and everyone in their sphere seems to be in a downward spiral. It's not an upbeat piece, although it has its wryly comic moments. The student cast members — some years younger than the roles they're playing — show lots of acting talent, and director Dione Kvapil has given them tons of texture and insight. If you scratched your head as you left the Playhouse a year ago, you might want to see this production for a better sense of what Chekhov had in mind.
Three Sisters is a long sit (it clocked in at just over three hours on opening night), but it was engaging if deliberately paced all the way through. If you're an aficionado of classic drama and don't get to see Chekhov very often, this one is worth investing an evening. Three Sisters is being presented in the Cohen Family Studio Theater at CCM (with nice sets and costumes, too). Admission is free, but you need to call (513-556-4183) in advance for tickets.