Hart House Theatre is welcoming patrons back for their 2022/23 season with Three Sisters Adapted and directed by Paolo Santalucia. A collaborative effort with The Howland Company, Three Sisters gives Chekhov’s classic new life on the Hart House stage. Tackling issues of life, love, and loss in a true Chekhovian mix of comedy and philosophy, Three Sisters is a poignant and superb piece of theatre.
The set for this production, designed by Nancy Anne Perrin, was perfectly versatile yet grounding; we always understood that we were in a large country home, but the rooms and timeline were easily changeable per act with help from the furniture and lighting. I loved the moments when the whole cast was on stage, often clustered around the dinner table; you could feel the life being breathed into the space and it had a wonderfully familiar feeling to it.
The cast of Three Sisters is a brilliant ensemble lead by the incredible Shauna Thompson, Caroline Toal and Hallie Seline as the titular sisters. I felt like they really connected with the heart of their characters and brought such compassion to these roles as each one of them goes along on their journey. All three either start the play happy, or find a sense of happiness by the end of the second act, and yet all are left devastated in one way or another by the end of the play. There are certain characters that I’ve come to anticipate in Chekhov’s plays which are guaranteed to be delightful yet heartbreaking: the housekeeper and the old doctor, played by Kyra Harper and Robert Persichini respectively in this production. While both had their moments of hilarity and light-heartedness, they also both showed the crushing reality of their situations. I was in awe of Maher Sinno’s performance as Val; he seemed so reserved and yet unhinged all at the same time, it was brilliant. Dan Mousseau stepped in as Theo on opening night, and I was heartily impressed; Theo, along with several of the younger men in this play, is sickeningly sweet and kind, to the point of almost being annoying. I though Mousseau tread this line perfectly and was a fantastic Theo.
I really enjoyed how much this play made me think and feel over the course of the action; the ebb and flow of the characters emotions, the disagreements about life and work and what it’s all about, the way they deal with horrible events as they happen, it was all very thought-provoking for me. The ideas about life and work are ones that we still discuss today, actually several of the conversations sound like those I’ve had with my partner or our parents, including the generational divide on our notions of what life could be. Three Sisters is just as much a play for today’s audiences as it was for Chekhov’s. Three Sisters has a limited run at Hart House theatre, closing November 12th. For more information and tickets visit: Three Sisters | Theatre | Hart House
L-R (floor): 郝邦宇 Steven Hao, Ethan Zuchkan, Shauna Thompson. L-R (at table) Cameron Laurie, Maher Sinno, Christine Horne, Ruth Goodwin, Kyra Harper, Hallie Seline, Robert Persichini, Ben Yoganathan and Colin A. Doyle (unseen), Caroline Toal
Photo Credit: Dahlia Katz