Theatre performance of “The Three Sisters”

The department of music and theatre arts present their finished production of Anton Chekhov’s play


Photo by Colette St John

Prozorov siblings gather around discussing their dream to go to Moscow, Russia.

Story by Colette St John, Staff Writer

Longing hearts, the perils of life and unmet aspirations; all those themes are addressed in “The Three Sisters” play.

Originally written in the early 1900s by Anton Chekhov, the story of the Prozorov family is set in an un-named small town in Russia.

The Prozorov family includes three sisters and one brother. With the ultimate aspiration of getting to Moscow (Russia) one day, the play presents how they work to try to attain this dream as well as others, only to end up dissatisfied and broken hearted.

The play will be performed at 7:30 p.m. April 16-18 and 22-25 in the Kjer Theatre, as well as 1:30 p.m. on April 26.

Much preparation and work went into the production, rehearsing around 25 to 30 hours a week starting in October.

Director of “The Three Sisters” Arthur Grothe is in his first year with the department of music and theatre arts at UW-Eau Claire.  With a deep appreciation of the work he does, he is excited to bring that passion to productions to campus.

“Having the ability to create and tell interesting, poignant and provocative stories is a huge reason why I have made this work, my work,” he said. “It has been great to join such a committed and creative group of faculty and students.”

Grothe believes “The Three Sisters” takes a look at the many frustrations and struggles of the everyday person.

“At times the story is comical and at others it is quite tragic, so my hope is that the audience leaves feeling as if they have taken a journey with these characters and seen them grow, develop and evolve in the course of two hours,” said Grothe.

Grothe has traveled a lot in his studies and experiences. One of his adventures was a summer with the Moscow Art Theatre. It is there he grew to appreciate Anton Chekhov’s work.

He was excited to hear that he was directing this play due to the appreciation and experience in Russia he had himself.

With regard to audience member connection to the storyline, Grothe feels that it is relatable. Speaking specifically towards the aspect of change being challenging.

“I think that many of the issues the characters face are still quite relevant today,” he said. “Many of the characters see the move to Moscow as a ‘cure-all’ for their frustrations and problems, but they are unable to make the necessary changes in their own lives to make those changes a reality.”

Autumn Ament, a senior comprehensive theatre major, plays the eldest sister, Olga. As the caregiver of the bunch her character looked over everyone. She enjoys Chekhov’s outlook that is presented in his work.

“The best thing about Anton Chekhov’s work is his natural and human take on his productions,” Ament said. “The simplicity of taking each moment as a normal day in these characters’ lives and what happens from there makes the production that much more raw and emotional.”

Molly Wilson, senior comprehensive theatre major, plays Masha, the middle sister of the family. She has been active in the theatre department both onstage and offstage all four years at UW-Eau Claire, with plans to move to Chicago after graduation.

In the story Masha is married at the age of 18, soon to become restless and looking for something new. This ‘something new’ is another man whom she soon falls in love while still married. Wilson enjoyed playing Masha in the production.

“I love playing a smart, sarcastic character with such a fleshed-out storyline,” she said.

Reflecting on the story, Wilson finds Chekhov’s work enlightening.

“People always have answers when they are looking at others’ lives, but, as illustrated in this show, sometimes you are completely blind to the things happening in your own life,” she said.

After explaining the young cast, she believes they used it to their advantage seen through vibrancy and energy. This was the first year working with Grothe for the students.

Wilson appreciated rehearsing and working with Grothe.

“Arthur is extremely passionate in everything he does and this translates in the way he works with students,” she said. “Infectiously energetic, Arthur made every rehearsal a joyful experience.”