Three Sisters

The long-awaited stage adaptation of The Three Sisters by Rimas Tuminas marked symbolically the beginning of the new creative period of the State Small Theatre of Vilnius, which has finally moved to its new home. It is a meeting point for several different generations of actors, marked by Rimas Tuminas’ approach to theatre: in the production, young members of the troupe perform together with famous Lithuanian actors, and students from Tuminas’ class make their stage debuts. The director shares generously his surprising inventiveness and imagination, paradoxical and unexpectedly stylistic sets, and at the same time he seems to summarise his previous work. In Chekhov’s The Three Sisters, the theme of the decline of a family and, simultaneously, of the old culture, is most important to him. However, he has not thought of creating a sob-story, or moaning about changing times. The production is full of theatrical flair and swashbuckling youth; it is fresh and sweeping, slightly whimsical, and, like a scamp, it is inspiring in its devilry and enchanting in its beauty … It is filled with a mood of gentle unfulfilment and intoxicating festivity, an impression that is also created by Adomas Jacovskis’ set and Faustas Latėnas’ music. The production has been put on in Poland and Russia. At the Baltiysky Dom’06 (St Petersburg) international theatre festival, The Three Sisters received the special award of Professor Lev Gitelman. In 2006, Arūnas Sakalauskas received the main Lithuanian theatrical award, the Golden Cross of the Stage, as the best actor.

 

‘I have a feeling that all through his life Chekhov was guided by his childhood, the light of that childhood. Childhood has a glow, because it has a feeling of safety. You feel safe because you are surrounded by your own people, by your relatives. As your family diminishes, you start losing that security. I am fascinated with what has vanished. The idea was to create a special platform, a stage for lost childhood, for lost security. Usually it remains silent, just like our subconscious thoughts, but sometimes it blurts out the most important episodes of our life.’

Rimas Tuminas

 

Reviews:

The greatest innovation in The Three Sisters by Rimas Tuminas is the radical inversion of time that has moved ‘Moscow’ from the future to the irretrievably receding past […] All the tragedy in Tuminas’ production lies in the present, which is turning into the past. You have only just met a person, fallen in love with him, it seems, for the rest of your life, and then you have to say goodbye for ever. This is what Tuminas’ ‘Moscow’ is: something that is most precious, but impossible to preserve.

Lietuvos rytas

 

A rehearsal of a Chekhovian life is taking place here: sometimes we hear an orchestra tuning their instruments; the characters’ dreams are being transported to a distant future; it is only military training or training for life […] It is cosy and light in the world of the performance, even at the gloomiest moments, because this is theatre.

Verslo žinios

 

No mise-en-scène, it seems, can rein in Elžbieta Latėnaitė’s Irina: the stage is full of her, even when she is silent, because all her body screams about the fact that she is here. An illusion, very important for the theatre, emerges: that The Three Sisters simply could not exist without her, that it would be another performance. This is a temperament which cannot be tempered by any blue blood or education.

Menų faktūra

 

Latėnaitė’s Irina, who has nothing in common with quasi-Chekhovian sentimental ‘intelligence’ and ‘noble feelings’, becomes a certain tuner of the performance. She is angular and swift, in the manner of a teenager, enjoying the privilege not to have to squeeze herself into forms created by others, and to discover her own form, a privilege given to everybody, but not used by everybody. She records the actions of others on her way. And she bursts into numerous caricature shapes in the daring pantomime of Shrove Tuesday that doesn’t happen.

Literatūra ir menas

 

Listening to waltzes and marches, one finds oneself in a space in which it is simply good to live, and in which time stops: the music endows the performance with the sense of an aristocratic existence, and this sense inspires not only the audience, but also all those on the stage.

7 meno dienos

 

Tuminas’ production slightly surprises at the beginning with its somewhat ‘dissonant tune’, but, little by little, it draws in the viewer […] With Tuminas’ production, Chekhov returns for another generation, a different time and a different audience: alive, nervous, slightly whimsical, grotesquely funny, and even sentimental.

7 meno dienos

 

In Tuminas’ directing, and especially in The Three Sisters, I am enormously impressed by the fact that not everything is told before the end (particularly in the images of characters); there is some mystery left, and we, the audience, are given the possibility to trust in our fantasy. It seems that the director hides the most important things, instead of pointing his finger at them.

Kultūros barai

 

Tuminas is an unrivalled interpreter, and that is his main merit. There is no detail in Chekhov’s text which slips past his attention. In The Three Sisters, every cue has its potential elongation, each thing holds someone’s fate, or a rich description of a character.

Vremya Novostei

 

There is much motion, much light, and much fun in Tuminas’ production. However, one’s eyes are constantly filled with tears: this director knows perfectly how to express gallows humour.

Moldezh Estonii

 

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