Three Sisters

by

Anton CHEKHOV

1901

Narrators: Jennifer Westfeldt, Sarah Zimmerman, Tessa Thompson, Jon Hamm, Full Cast
Unabridged Length: 2 h, 2 m
Published by L.A. Theatre Works, 2011

Received for review from L.A. Theatre Works and Audiobook Jukebox

This book counts for

2011 Audio Book Challenge

MY THOUGHTS ABOUT THIS AUDIOBOOK

My feelings are very divided about this work, and this is rather unusual.

Let’s begin with the positive: first, in case you don’t know yet about them, Audiobook Jukebox has a fantastic audiobook reviewing program: you request an audiobook, and you receive it for review, it’s as simple as that.

This production was absolutely excellent in its output: I had not listened to a play with several characters for a while, last time was decades ago on  France Culture, I remember the program was called Le masque et la plume, on Sunday evenings as I recall.
I have to say I was VERY impressed by the quality of this recording: the voices were very clear, very distinct, I enjoyed also very much the background noises, it really helped create a real life environment to the play.
The actors were excellent in their tone of voice, they fit perfectly to my opinion with the characters they were representing; I could really feel their shallowness, for instance.

That was about the form, and that was what I really enjoyed about this recording.

Now about the content is a total different matter: I had requested it, because I kept thinking I had to delve a bit into Chekhov. Well, maybe I should have started with something else, something a bit less gloomy, though not sure this really exists in Chekhov. Although the whole thing lasted only 2 hours, I found it extremely boring, with shallow characters complaining about everything, unable to appreciate anything in their daily lives and only dreaming about some kind of utopic better world. I felt like slapping Irina more than once.

WHAT IS IT ABOUT

A full cast audio performance of Chekhov’s masterpiece starring Tessa Thompson, Jennifer Westfeldt, Sarah Zimmerman and Jon Hamm. Meet Olga, Masha, and Irina, warm and cultured young sisters who were reared in the exciting hubbub of Moscow, but have been living in the dull, gossipy backwaters of Russia for far too long. With their father’s passing, and the ordinary grip of day-to-day life slowly suffocating them, the urge to return to the city with its rich and exciting life rises to a fever pitch. First performed in 1901, Three Sisters beautifully mixes humor and heartbreak and is a perennial favorite of actors and audiences alike. [L.A. Theatre Works]

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Anton Pavlovich Chekhov (29 January 1860 – 15 July 1904) was a Russian physician, dramatist and author who is considered to be among the greatest writers of short stories in history. His career as a dramatist produced four classics and his best short stories are held in high esteem by writers and critics. Chekhov practiced as a doctor throughout most of his literary career: “Medicine is my lawful wife”, he once said, “and literature is my mistress.”
Chekhov renounced the theatre after the disastrous reception of The Seagull in 1896, but the play was revived to acclaim in 1898 by Constantin Stanislavski’s Moscow Art Theatre, which subsequently also produced Chekhov’s Uncle Vanya and premiered his last two plays, Three Sisters and The Cherry Orchard. These four works present a challenge to the acting ensemble as well as to audiences, because in place of conventional action Chekhov offers a “theater of mood” and a “submerged life in the text.”|
Chekhov had at first written stories only for financial gain, but as his artistic ambition grew, he made formal innovations which have influenced the evolution of the modern short story. His originality consists in an early use of the stream-of-consciousness technique, later adopted by James Joyce and other modernists, combined with a disavowal of the moral finality of traditional story structure. He made no apologies for the difficulties this posed to readers, insisting that the role of an artist was to ask questions, not to answer them. [wikipedia]

HAVE YOU READ THIS PLAY YET?
DO YOU FEEL LIKE READING OR LISTENING TO IT?
WHAT’S YOUR FEELING TOWARDS CHEKHOV’S WORKS?
ANYTHING ELSE BY HIM I SHOULD READ??
SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS  IN A COMMENT PLEASE

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