It is not plot that drives New Paltz Theatre’s latest venture, but character.
For its latest production, the department will be performing Anton Chekov’s “Three Sisters.”
“They were flowers in a garden of weeds,” said director Frank Trezza about the play.
Once high class, the eponymous three sisters and their brother Andrei eventually fall to the lower and uneducated people around them. In this drama,
highly speculated to be based upon the Brontë sisters, the important events occur offstage. The viewer is left to focus on the dynamics of the people -— and the skill of the actors.
According to cast member and third-year theatre major Stefan Brundage, the play is about “misconnections.”
“There is no melodrama here – there are two sides to the story with everyone,” he said.
This kind of situation is not unusual in Chekov’s works. In this respect, Brundage thinks his plays are more difficult than Shakespeare’s.
“‘Three Sisters’ has so much weight to it. You can’t go a page at most without a ridiculously deep line,” said Brundage.
Everyone involved in the play comes to one common conclusion — it is largely about loss; a riches to rags story. This leaves costume designer and fourth-year theatre major Colleen Heaney a lot to work with.
“Every character has a color story,” she said. “They start out bold and lose color throughout the show.”
One of the sisters, Olga, is outfitted in fading shades of blue in the show. Heaney chose this color to communicate that Olga is not only “maternal but cold.”
Set designer and assistant professor Ken Goldstein also said he enjoys exploring the creative possibilities of the play. “Three Sisters” falls under the style of ‘naturalism,’ which requires authentic props and detailed sets.
“We’re trying to play with emotion through the scene changes,” Goldstein said.
According to Brundage, the cast is “pretty bonded.” The casting process began at the start of the school year, and once the cast was chosen, the actors rehearsed four hours daily. The casting for the play was open to not only the department, but the community also, he said.
“We try to educate students about a variety of dramatic literature,” Brundage said.
For Trezza, the last moments of “Three Sisters” makes it great.
“It’s a play about pain and suffering but at the end they pick themselves up and realize life must go on. In that sense, it’s a very uplifting play,” Trezza said.
Trezza said he hopes the audience will leave the theater with this feeling of hope as well as inspiration.
To quote one of the play’s trademark phrases: “Mankind is looking for something, and will certainly find it. Oh, if it only happened more quickly.”
Performances for “Three Sisters” will be held Oct. 13-23 at 8 p.m. in Parker Theatre.