Theater Review: ‘The Three Sisters’

This "Three Sisters" packs a powerful emotional punch because the actors do. A total must-see.

November 17, 2010 22:00
1 minute read.
Theater Review: ‘The Three Sisters’

Herzliya theater 88 248. (photo credit: Courtesy)

Ofira Henig’s Three Sisters lifts her and her actors into that realm beyond good. The production is cumulatively shattering. Henig starts the play with the actors gabbling their lines as though they were devoid of content, context, relationship or any other human interaction you can think of. As the play progresses, these layers of disconnection are stripped away inexorably, and by the last mute moment the bonds that tie them are laid bare entirely.

Except, of course, for the unspeakable Natasha (Naomi Frumovitz-Pinkas), and even her monumental grossness is silenced for a moment.

The three sisters are Olga (Odelia Segal Michael), Masha (Orna Katz) and Irina (Sylvia Drori-Tashenyovska) Prozorov. For a decade they have lived in a provincial garrison town where their general father commanded a brigade. Now the general has been dead for a year, and the sisters dream of nothing but their return to their native Moscow. The arrival of the new commander, Vershinin (Yoram Yosefsberg), and their brother Andrei’s (Yoav Heyt) marriage to Natasha irrevocably change the tenor of their lives.

Their tragedy is that they never live those lives. They don’t know how; haven’t a clue. It’s not that they’re willful about it. It’s that they can’t think how to begin, and never will. That’s why such people are such easy prey for the Natashas of the world. Oh, but they work so hard at trying.

They work in a stark black space. The only furniture is chairs that are configured according to the moment’s need. Henig has plonked her characters into an alien place, its neon bars leaching them of emotional life until amber and rose light revives them.

The rest of the uniformly superb cast includes Alex Peleg as Doctor Chebutykin; Assaf Solom as Tusenbach; Itcho Avital as Kulygin; Nimrod Bergman as Solonyi; Liat Goren as old Anfisa; and Amichai Yaish as Ferrapont.

There isn’t a gram of sentimentality, a millisecond of kitsch in this Three Sisters. It packs a powerful emotional punch because the actors do. A total must-see.

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