Ohio State theater professor Maureen Ryan will help bring to life David Mamet’s adaptation of Russian playwright Anton Chekhov’s “The Three Sisters” Thursday in the Roy Bowen Theatre at the Drake Performance and Event Center.

Starting today and running until May 28, the play will let audiences witness the plight of the Prozorov family, three sisters and a brother, during a time period in which the privileged class in Russia is decaying. A tale of a family’s frustration, dissatisfaction and quest to bring their dreams of returning to Moscow to fruition, playwright David Mamet’s adaptation offers a contemporary look at the story.

Ryan, director of the production, said she suggested Mamet’s adaptation, which is based on the literal translation by Vlada Chernomordik, because of its contemporary, colloquial feel.

Ryan said she realizes that her target audience at OSU consists primarily of young people and this makes it necessary to shape productions in such a way that they speak to youthful sensibilities.

“I felt it was important to make this beautiful and profound play as accessible to them as possible,” Ryan said.

Because the characters are the same ages as audience members, the desire was for them to sound as contemporary as possible and Mamet does the best job of that, Ryan said.

Ryan also expressed a fondness in the piece because it gives student-actors an opportunity to challenge themselves and their abilities, using Chekhov and Mamet’s works.
The department maintains that audiences can expect a good show. This is in part because “The Three Sisters” is such a well-known classic, said Damian Bowerman, publicity coordinator for the OSU Department of Theatre.

Ryan has been working on the play for more than a year, because of the significant amount of research it required. Rehearsals began March 29 and continued weekly, with four-hour sessions and five-hour sessions on Saturdays.

With the tremendous amount of work that has gone into the production, the department expects a good turnout.

“We always set the bar high, and while we seek to appeal to our target audience of students, we hope to bring members of the surrounding community out as well,” Bowerman said.

Ryan said she enjoyed all of the work that went into bringing one of the most beautiful pieces in dramatic literature to life.

“‘Three Sisters’ is considered by many to be Chekhov’s master work and it is a privilege to have the opportunity to work with students on such a complex and powerful piece.”