PlayMakers presents Chekhov’s ‘Three Sisters’ starting Jan. 20

PlayMakers Repertory Company production of Three Sisters. CREDIT:  Jon Gardiner
From left, Joshua David Robinson as Aleksander Ignatyevich Vershinin and Arielle Yoder as Maria (Masha) Sergeyevna in PlayMakers’ “Three Sisters.” (photo by Jon Gardiner)

PlayMakers Repertory Company continues its main-stage season Jan. 20-Feb. 7 with a fresh take on a classic drama, “Three Sisters” by Russian playwright Anton Chekhov. Special events associated with the show begin Jan. 11.

Languishing in a provincial town far from their beloved Moscow, sisters Olga, Masha and Irina yearn for the sparkling city of their childhood, where they believe all dreams will come true. Acknowledged as a masterpiece of the world stage, “Three Sisters” is Chekhov’s tour de force investigation of a family navigating the space between reality and dreams.

The production is being directed by Vivienne Benesch, PlayMakers’ new producing artistic director. An award-winning director/actor/teacher and artistic director of the Chautauqua Theatre Company, Benesch also directed “Red,” “In the Next Room (or the vibrator play)” and “Love Alone” at PlayMakers.

PlayMakers’ production is the professional premiere of a new version of “Three Sisters” by Libby Appel, artistic director emerita of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. Appel, who directed “Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike” and “The Glass Menagerie” at PlayMakers, recently adapted and published all four of Chekhov’s major works including “Three Sisters.”

PlayMakers Repertory Company production of Three Sisters. CREDIT:  Jon Gardiner
From left, Arielle Yoder as Maria (Masha) Sergeyevna, Allison Altman as Irina Sergeyevna, Marinda Anderson as Olga Sergeyevna and Joshua David Robinson as Aleksander Ignatyevich Vershinin in PlayMakers’ “Three Sisters.” (photo by Jon Gardiner)

“Three Sisters” is filled with more ‘life’ than nearly any other work of dramatic literature I know,” said Benesch. “Last spring, when I was invited to direct Libby Appel’s new adaptation, I had no idea it was destined to become my first production as PlayMakers’ new producing artistic director; but life and art sometimes play the very best tricks on us, and I cannot think of a more perfect work to engage in at this moment than Chekhov’s vibrant meditation on the nature of time, love and our unexpected journey through life.”

Performances of “Three Sisters” will be in the Paul Green Theatre in the Center for Dramatic Art on Country Club Road. Show times will be 7:30 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays and 2 p.m. Sundays and Saturday, Jan. 30.

In conjunction with “Three Sisters,” PlayMakers will host “The Vision Series-Directors in Conversation,” a behind-the-scenes preview with Benesch, Jan. 13 at 6:30 p.m. in the Paul Green Theatre. The event is free and open to the public. Participants share coffee and hors d’oeuvres provided by series sponsor Jujube Restaurant, learn about the vision for the show and get a sneak peek at the sets and costumes in progress. Reservations are appreciated. Call PlayMakers’ box office at (919) 962-7529 to RSVP.

From left, Allison Altman as Irina Sergeyevna and Ray Dooley as Ivan Romanovich Chebutykin in PlayMakers' "Three Sisters." (photo by Jon Gardiner)
From left, Allison Altman as Irina Sergeyevna and Ray Dooley as Ivan Romanovich Chebutykin in PlayMakers’ “Three Sisters.” (photo by Jon Gardiner)

Other special events will include:

  • 11, 7 p.m.: “In the Wings,” presented by PlayMakers and the Durham County Library. Cast and creative team members (designers, actors and production personnel) discuss the plays at the Southwest Regional Library, 3605 Shannon Road, Durham;
  • 18, 6 p.m.: a discussion with the director and cast at The Granary Café, Fearrington Village, Pittsboro;
  • 20, 21 and 22, 7:30 p.m.: preview performances;
  • 23, 7:30 p.m.: opening night performance;
  • 26: an all-access performance for attendees with special needs, with sign language interpretation and audio description;
  • 27 and 31: free post-show discussions with members of the creative team;
  • 30, 2 p.m.: open captioned performance;
  • 6, 7:30 p.m. and Feb. 7, 2 p.m.: free post-show “Mindplay” discussions sponsored by the North Carolina Psychoanalytic Society.

Carol Woods is co-producing sponsor for the play.

PlayMakers, based in UNC’s College of Arts and Sciences, will also stage “We Are Proud to Present…” (Feb. 24-March 13) and Stephen Sondheim’s Tony Award-winning musical “Sweeney Todd” (March 30-April 23) to round out its 2015-2016 main-stage season, as well as “The Real Americans” by Dan Hoyle (April 27-May 1) in its PRC2 second-stage series.

For a complete schedule and to purchase tickets, call (919) 962-7529 or visit Individual ticket prices start at $15. Tickets are also available as part of PlayMakers’ 2015-2016 subscription packages.