Three Sisters Play | Sport For Jove

Director's Notes

Anton Chekhov's THREE SISTERS is my favourite play from the last century - it first appeared in 1901, at the Moscow Arts Theatre.

I have some 23 different translations of the play, including the Aubrey Mellor, Robert Dessaix 1988 version for Belvoir St. I invited Karen Vickery, a colleague, actor, teacher, writer, friend, a fluent Russian speaker, reader and writer to prepare a new translation. We had worked together before. I believe it is necessary that Australian audiences have a contemporary translation of the other language plays, if possible.

I was conceiving a production set in Russia (Perm), in 1901.There were to be no adaptations - just as accurate a translation for our contemporary Australian ears as possible. I wanted the actors to feel that we were creating a brand new Australian play. My principle instruction was that the syntax on the score of the text was as deliberate as she intended.

I auditioned some 167 actors in March, 2016. I was looking for actors that could Act! And that were, what I called, "Mad Actors" - actors of explorative courage. I had an embarrassment of riches to choose from - I thank all who came to see me. I could have cast the play many times over. All with a unique chemical possibility of exciting exploration. I chose carefully and tonight you will see the result. Our unique result. Sport For Jove gave me free rein as to whom I could work with. How lucky I have been. Sport For Jove are a marvel - Steven Tait, an absolutely amazing Production 'boss'.

I set up a series of lectures under the banner of THE ANTON PROJECT, for the general public. Speakers were Anthony Skuse (Anton Chekhov), Maria Lobytsnya (Late 19th century History Russia), Ken Healey (Music of he Russian society), Karen Vickery (Translation) and a Russian dance class by Wanda Wojtulewicz-Levine, which were held in March, April and May, 2016 at the Sport For Jove studios.

Influenced (all my life) by a long essay by Dr Jonathan Miller, SUBSEQUENT PERFORMANCES (1986), I wanted all the artists involved to approach the play as if it were an entirely new play. A new Australian play. We would immerse ourselves in the history of the play, the biography of the writer, the social, political and cultural history of the society that first cast this play into the world's consciousness, onto the stages of the world, and through our peculiar combined Australian 'lens' ,and interpretation of those elements, to create from our unique, personalised and 'learned' response to all those elements, to explore and discover our team's story for this great play. We have wrestled in detail, in our limited time, with this great work to find our way, and to make the play speak to you in 2016.

To attempt THREE SISTERS is, I believe, a theatrical equivalent to climbing Mount Everest, the highest 'peak' on the theatre landscape of endeavour - at least, for me.

We hope we have done well enough.

THREE SISTERS was Anton Chekhov's first play written, in 1901, especially for the Moscow Arts Theatre, run by Konstantin Stanislavsky and Vladimir Nemirovitch-Danchenko. Chekhov was, and is, famous for his Short Story writing - a must-read to appreciate what he was attempting in writing his plays. Chekhov was a doctor and had self-diagnosed his tuberculosis when he was in his late twenties. He, generally, ignored the prognosis.The disease had progressed quite savagely and he was hemorrhaging blood regularly whilst at the task of writing this play in Yalta. He also, incidentally, married Olga Knipper, a leading actor of the Moscow Arts Company, for whom he wrote the role of Masha, at the same time. He died in 1904, after completing his great comedy, THE CHERRY ORCHARD.

As I am particularly indebted to the writings of Orlando Figes, and his two great books: NATASHA'S DANCE and A PEOPLE'S TRAGEDY, to gain an insight into the world of Russia, I recommend them to you. Too, the writings of Schopenhauer and Nietzsche have informed the work we have undertaken.

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"The restlessness and emotional restraint demanded by Jackson draws out some finely shaded acting..."
"...a rich, funny, poignant and fresh theatrical experience"
"Sport For Jove has hit another six."
"...delivers wonderful amusing results."
"...see a classic in as true a form as possible"

Cast & Crew


Servant / Soldier
Baron Tuzenbach


Stage Manager
Assistant Stage Manager
Set Design Assistant
Costume Designer
Set Designer
Costume Design Assistant
Script Translation
Lighting Designer
Sound Designer
Assistant to Director
Dance Choreography

Venues / FAQ’s

The Reginald Theatre, Seymour Centre

The Reginald Theatre is a small, informal studio-style theatre that holds 150 to 200 people. With fixed raked seating can be supplemented by additional seating in front of the stage area this space is ideal for theatre and dance performances.