THREE SISTERS was written in 1900 when the Tsar was still in power in Russia mismanaging an enormous country. The play contains echoes of the Russian Revolution nibbling around the edges of the quiet middle-class lives of three sisters, Olga, Masha and Irina. Outside the sisters’ sheltered lives, the peasants are increasingly tired of bad living and working conditions, high taxes and land hunger and are starting to give rise to more frequent strikes and agrarian disorders.
The young soldiers are billeted in town, eating, flirting and playing cards before heading off to the serious business of war. There are hints of the ‘barbarians at the gates’ and the gradual loss of culture as the sisters’ world in a small provincial town becomes frustrating and futile and young Irina longs to go to Moscow.
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ANDREY SERGEYEVITCH PROSOROV
NATALIA IVANOVA (NATASHA), his fiancée, later his wife (28)
FEODOR ILITCH KULIGIN, high school teacher, married to MASHA (20)
ALEXANDER IGNATEYEVITCH VERSHININ, lieutenant-colonel in charge of a battery (42)
NICOLAI LVOVITCH TUZENBACH, baron, lieutenant in the army (30)
VASSILI VASSILEVITCH SOLENI, captain
IVAN ROMANOVITCH CHEBUTIKIN, army doctor (60)
ALEXEY PETROVITCH FEDOTIK, sub-lieutenant
VLADIMIR CARLOVITCH RODE, sub-lieutenant
FERAPONT, door-keeper at local council offices, an old man
ANFISA, nurse (80)