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Anton Chekhov’s Three Sisters, 118 years after its creation, feels uncannily new, even daring. Not only was Chekhov the first playwright to make the tiny, seemingly casual nuances of human interaction his focus – he remains the playwright who does it with the drollest humor, and the deadliest yet most loving accuracy. A doctor by profession, he knew the human body intimately, as well as our tendency to abuse, ignore or mistreat it. Even when he himself was coughing blood, he denied having tuberculosis. Someone else had to make the diagnosis! (And he died shortly after, at age 44.). A keen observer of human nature, Chekhov did not judge us. He felt every bit as awkward, ardent, hungry, blind, goofy, and hopeful as we are.
Three Sisters, widely seen as one of the greatest plays ever written, is packed: fourteen rich, distinct characters; pressure-cooker sibling dynamics (as buoyant, protective, competitive, and contradictory as our own); upheavals that seem to sneak up on everyone before they explode.
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