Three Sisters

Arden Theatre Company



Mary Tuomanen as Irina in Three Sisters. Photo by Mark Garvin, courtesy of the Arden Theatre Company.


Sarah Sanford, Mary Tuomanen, and Katherine Powell in Three Sisters at the Arden Theatre Company. Photo by Mark Garvin.

The Arden Theatre Company embarked upon a two-year study of the work of Russian dramatist Anton Chekhov, which resulted in a new translation of Three Sisters—the first Chekhov play to be produced at the Arden. The project represented the start of a creative partnership between the Arden and Trinity Repertory Company, located in Providence, Rhode Island.

In fall 2012, Trinity Artistic Director Curt Columbus and Arden Artistic Director Terrence J. Nolen traveled to Russia to consult with leading theater artists and to better comprehend how Chekhov's work continues to impact modern Russian drama. This trip, curated by John Freedman, a theater writer and critic based in Moscow, offered the two Americans opportunities to see five productions of works written or heavily influenced by Chekhov and to speak with a Chekhov scholar. They also visited the playwright's estate at Melikhovo. Columbus, who is fluent in Russian, developed his new translation of Three Sisters to reflect what he describes as the "blunt, muscular, and coarse" nature of Chekhov's language. The cast, made up of actors from both Philadelphia and Providence, trained in a two-week workshop with Trinity Rep master teacher Brian McEleny, who continued to mentor the actors leading up to the Arden's 2014 production.