Anton Chekhov’s Three Sisters

Ora Jones as Olga in “Three Sisters”

This week our little theater group attended the last of a five play series titled “Three Sisters.” The play is by Russian playwright Anton Chekhov. Steppenwolf ensemble member Tracy Letts adapted the work for an American audience. The subscription this year featured stories that were in some way connected to war. All were very good, but two of them were outstanding. Three Sisters is one, the other was “The March” a story about the Civil War.

I’ve seen two Russian works in my life. The first an opera, and now this play. Both impressed me as being somewhat oppressive. The long cold winters in Russia must make people morose. I don’t recall the name of the opera anymore, but I do recall the ride home from the Lyric Opera House. It was an October night and Chicago experienced its first heavy snowfall. Being so early in the season, there were no plows to clear the roads. The leaves were still on the trees and the snow heavy and sticky. Tree limbs and whole trees came down from the weight. We made it home, but the memory of the opera is dim in contrast. I do remember the entire set being in black and white. The background setting for Three Sisters was in black and white.

Writers proclaim that plays by Chekhov were “born for ensemble.” Tracy Letts certainly gave us an adaptation that is perfect for the Steppenwolf ensemble. The story had moments of comedy, pathos, sorrow, longing, and life emotions. The actors became the characters and were quite believable in their roles.

If you get the chance to see this play do. My little theater group came a way rating “The Three Sisters” the best of the series.

Still In Shock

The latest offering of my Steppenwolf Theater subscription is a play titled “Sex With Strangers.” I am still in shock over this play. First of all, it is very current. The characters and the content of the play is now. I thought I was hip, but after viewing this story I am not sure.

Sex With Strangers has two characters: Ethan and Olivia. He is twenty four, she is thirty something. Ethan is a Blogger who writes about his sexual conquests. He has writen a book about the one hundred or more sexual different encounters he has within a single  year. While he is writing, he blogs about his encounters. Olivia is a serious novelist who has no knowledge of the internet and of Blogging for fame.

I had serious problems with the story within the first act. The play opens with Olivia reading a book while sitting in a modestly outfitted home. There is a knock on the door. She ignores it. The knock turns into a pounding and shouting. A man’s voice is shouting let me in. This is where  I have a problem. She goes to the door and lets the guy, a complete stranger, in.

They talk to each other like they know each other, but in fact, are complete strangers. The place turns out to be in Michigan during the winter. Olivia is there to write. Ethan went there to do the same. He is totally disappointed however, because there is no internet service. He is suddenly lost. No phone, no computer connection, he is stuck with Olivia and the old fashioned method of communicating via conversation.

Within the first act and only after a short time of getting to know each other two complete strangers have sex. The only thing they have in common is that they write. The sex scene is portrayed by the set going dark. In the first half of the play before before the intermission, the lights go dark four times.

Although I was totally shocked by the content and the culture portrayed by these characters, this play was totally enjoyable, and understandable.

Stephen Louis Grush who played Ethan only had one flaw. He was tattooed over much of his body. The ‘toos, although current and contemporary, left me wondering about the guys sexuality. He also resembled a man I knew on my job. I kept seeing Chris not Ethan.

Olivia played by Sally Murphy was totally hot.  I only hope she has mopre sense in real life than her character had.

Both actors gave very convincing performances. All in all, this story was among the very best I have seen at Steppenwolf.

Five stars * * * * *

WHO’S AFRAID OF VIRGINIA WOOLF

Chicago River @ night

Image via Wikipedia

Last night was make up night for our theater subscription. Normally, we go to Steppenwolf with  friends, but when Grandma Peggy and I got the flu we had to reschedule. So, it was solo date night for the old folks.  We bundled up and drove the thirty-five miles to North Halstead Street in Chicago to the Steppenwolf theater. We left early because sometimes we get into a traffic jam that takes thirty to forty minutes to get through. This evening we sailed without any jams and made it from our door to the theater in forty-eight minutes flat.

I pulled up in front of Trattoria Gianni’s and valet parked the Death Star. Gianni’s is across the street and four houses down from the theater. We enjoyed a four-star meal. I would have given it five stars except for the ambiance. The place was cold, and a bus load of women came in for dinner. They made the place so noisy that I had to shut my “state of the art” electronic ears off.

The play was “Who is Afraid of Virginia Woolf.” I had never seen it before, but Peggy  saw the movie with Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton. This production of Edward Albee’s work starred Steppenwolf’s ensemble members. Directed by Amy Morton who also starred as Martha. Her husband, Tracy Letts played the part of George.

The story is a riot at times, but also filled with dialogue reminiscent of a marital fencing match. It is obvious that this wife is totally disappointed in her husband’s ambition, and he in turn feels she is a nag. They drink copiously to numb their brains from the ho-hum of their lives.

The characters became real, and I couldn’t picture the actors as anybody but George and Martha. They left me wondering if they were as screwed up in real life as they portrayed on stage. This is a very long play and we almost left when the second intermission arrived. I thought the last scene was rather a strange ending. It turned out that there was another act.

I took the opportunity to run out and retrieve my car from the valet. The valet service ends at eleven, and I had visions of my car being towed by some aggressive towing company for being in a place it didn’t belong with me wondering where the hell it was and how was I going to get home. The valet was right there. My car was parked on the street immediately across from the theater doors. I paid him, got my keys, and made it back to my seat before anyone knew I was gone.

The final act started out being just as conflicted as the first two. The plot had us believing that George and Martha had a son. At the very end George plays one of his games and reveals to Martha that the son is dead. She keeps screaming “why did you have to make it end this way?” That got me to wondering if the son was real or did they just create him to make their lives more fulfilled, or was he a character in one of George’s novels. I left wondering if the couple was nuts, or were they in deep grief over the loss of their only son. Now, I have to do some reading to determine if the son was real. Maybe someone will tell me.

Grandma Peggy and I gave the performance five stars, but next time we will wear long underwear so we can give Gianni’s the fifth star.

Bhutadarma

Nothing is impossible (at least that does not violate the laws of physics). When you can..violate the laws of physics!

I Know I Made You Smile

cartoons/humor/fiction/nonfiction

Attila Ovari

Loving Life and Inspiring Others

galesmind

Come take a journey through my mind

Nutsrok

The humor and humanity of storytelling.

Henry Game

The Next Testament

Gamintraveler

Travel Couple and Digital Nomads on a World Travel

summershaffer

A topnotch WordPress.com site

blogsense-by-barb

at the Re-Birth of America!

The Honking Goose

something to honk about

THE WAKING GIANT

United States Second Amendment Pitbull

Caustic Synergy

United and alone in the world

Aspiring Conservative

Conservative blog with articles about today's politics!

Conservative Kentucky

Reality From my Perspective

Hearing Aid News

HEAR it HERE first! The latest on developments in hearing aids and the hearing industry.

Socialism is not the Answer

Limited Government Is

leaf and twig

where observation and imagination meet nature in poetry

Just Cruisin 2

Where Intellectuals and Rednecks foregather.

allaboutlemon-All Around, In, And Out Of My Own Universe

Greed is an ugly default... Sharing is Caring

Nhan Fiction

"Hope is my catalyst."

prophetbrahmarishi

Just another WordPress.com site

NuVote Reach

Political Co-Dependency Intervention

The Baggage Handler

I made the impossible easy in both worlds!

David Emeron: Sonnets

If I swore not to describe my heart, would it stop beating forever?

silkroadcollector.me

An International company that offers private antique art sales to clients around the globe.