Anton Chekhov: Tri sestry [The Three Sisters]

(3421 words)
  • John Reid (University of the West of England)

The 1901 première of Three Sisters [Tri sestry] was directed by Stanislavsky and Nemerovich-Danchenko at the Moscow Arts Theatre. It was slow to gain acceptance by the public and reviewers were unsure what to make of it – what was it about? Why did the plot seem so haphazard and indistinct? Why was the motivation of characters so vague?

Three Sisters has often been described as a play in which nothing happens – a bleakly actionless, plotless, and shapeless drama. In his letters, Chekhov would appear to have some sympathy with such critics when he confides that the play has “an atmosphere more gloomy than gloom itself”. In fact, as some excellent twentieth-century productions have shown, Three S…

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Reid, John. "Tri sestry". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 11 March 2003
[, accessed 27 September 2016.]