The Marshall University theatre program will present the show “The Three Sisters,” written by Russian author and playwright Anton Chekhov. The opening night of the production will be at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 12 at the Joan C. Edwards Playhouse.
“The Three Sisters” is a story about the Prozorov family, who are left stranded after their father, General Prozorov, dies. The three sisters try to find their way back to Moscow where they grew up. The play takes place in a provincial Russian town.
The play’s theme is the decay of the Russian aristocratic society through the struggles of the family as it tries to find a way back to Moscow.
Chekhov is known for his depressing plays, but his intention was to write them as comedies. So, throughout the struggle of the Prozorov family, there are comedic moments to show the reality of their situation.
Erika Toderic plays the role of Masha Prozorov, the middle sister. She said comedy and tragedy almost go hand-in-hand during the play, and that is what makes it more relatable to the public.
“It’s reality,” Toderic said. “There is comedy in the sadness, in everyday life. In our lives, someone dies, and you end up laughing at the good times. And it’s not all bad, but that is real.”
John Marks plays Baron Tuzenbach, a lieutenant in the army who is dissatisfied with his life as Russian royalty. He desires a life that involves working for something he wants. Tuzenbach is an optimistic character who takes action to get what he wants out of life.
The biggest struggle between the actors in the play and the characters they are portraying, is the age difference. Marks found a way to break down the idea of the character to make him more relatable.
“It’s the hardest thing I’ve done, and I still think that we’ll close the show and none of us will feel that we did as much work as we wanted to,” Marks said, “But the best thing I’ve found is to break down what that person wants and what’s keeping them from getting that, and giving yourself, psychologically, the desire while you’re doing it.”
“The Three Sisters” director Lenny Banovez is from New York, where he runs his own theater company. The young director got involved in the Marshall theater program when he worked with Jack Cirillo, the director of the program.
Banovez said he was very excited when offered the opportunity to direct “The Three Sisters,” which has some of the most complicated characters for actors to capture. Banovez thinks very highly of the Marshall theatre program, calling it the jewel of West Virginia.
Several of the student actors have found it refreshing to work with a director who has the much passion, positivity and vision he puts into his work.
“His passion for making theatre and being an artist makes all of us passionate about making theatre and being artists, because a lot of people don’t really see theatre as being art,” Toderic said. “But doing a show like this, where you can be a portal to another world, people will sit down and be sucked into a day in the life of these people.”
Shalee Rogney can be contacted