Thursday, December 18, 2014
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

The Art Theater of Davis debuts with ‘Three Sisters’

three sistersW

From left, Olga (Sarah Cohen), Masha (Tatiana Ray) and Irina (Claire D'Angelo) are the "Three Sisters." Timothy Nutter/Courtesy photo

By
From page A7 | March 12, 2014 |

Check it out
What: “Three Sisters”
Where: The Art Theater of Davis, 946 Olive Drive.
When: 7 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, 2:30 p.m. Sunday
Tickets: $15 adults, $10 for students, children and seniors
Info: Email art.theater.of.davis@gmail.com to reserve tickets

It was an auspicious beginning for Davis’ newest theater — The Art Theater of Davis — as it presented its first production, Anton Chekhov’s “Three Sisters,” directed by co-founder Timothy Nutter, who is also credited with original script adaptation and set design.

I have to make one comment first off. If you know nothing about Chekhov, or about this play, it would behoove you to do a little research before seeing the show. While the program gives the names of the characters and the actor who plays which character, Chekhov rarely uses the actual name of the character in his script. Other than the three sisters, their brother and his wife, nobody else is called by his or her program name.

Baki Tezcan, for example, gives an excellent performance as Vershinin, the lieutenant colonel commanding the artillery battery in town, who enters into an affair with sister Masha, but it was not until I got home that I realized which character he was because he is only referred to by his military title in the script.

Steve Buchanan plays Tuzenbach, in love with youngest sister Irina, but is only ever called “Baron” in the play.

The only reason I knew that the servant they call “Nanny” is named Anfisa was because I had met the actress when the show was in rehearsal.

Trying to keep up with which actor plays which part is impossible.

The program also gives no help as to how much time has elapsed between the acts. Act 2 takes place nearly two years after Act 1, but as the set is the same, the characters are the same and, I believe, the costumes are the same, how are we to know how much time has elapsed, which is an important thing to know, given the changes that have happened in the family during those two years.

Act 3 is a year later and takes place in a bedroom. But since the family has been talking of moving to Moscow, there is no way until well into the act that you realize this is not a Moscow apartment, but a bedroom in the house seen in the first two acts. One should not assume that everyone in the audience is familiar with the play before they see it.

However, this should not have any reflection on the actual performances by the actors, which were, for the most part, fine.

Sarah Cohen gives a stern and compelling performance as oldest sister Olga, the matriarch of the family, following their father’s death the year before. Olga is a spinster who does not have much joy in her life. She longs to have married “any man, even an old man” if one had asked her, but she has compassion in her soul and takes a job (school headmistress) she does not want in order to have a home for her aging servant, Anfisa (Scarlet O’Connor, a beautiful job as a doddering old woman fearful of being fired because she is no longer capable of doing her job).

The middle sister, Masha, is played by Tatiana Ray. She is 21 at the start of the play and unhappily married to Kulygin (Adam Siegel, who has serious projection problems throughout the first three acts). Her behavior, especially in Act 2, where she vacillates between hysterical, uncontrollable laughter to the depths of depression, bent over, holding a pillow in front of her as perhaps her barrier against the world, might indicate that she suffers from manic depression. She also has the most biting wit and the clearest perception of the family condition.

Irina (Claire D’Angelo) is celebrating her 20th birthday at the beginning of the play. She is young and idealistic and full of dreams of her future life in Moscow, where she knows she will find true love. Ultimately, she suffers the greatest loss and though her dreams have been squelched, she resolutely decides to move to Moscow anyway.

Tyler Shaffo is Andrey (Andrei), the youngest child and only male in the family. He, too, plans to move to Moscow, where he knows he will have a shining career as a professor, but by Act 2 his dreams have faded. He is saddled with a shrewish wife and a baby and is stuck in a job as secretary to the County Council. Shaffo has the perfect look of a young Russian intellectual.

Natalia (called Natasha in the play) is played by Cheryl Loehr. She enters the family as a very shy, insecure girl, in love with Andrei. She dresses poorly and much fun is made of an inappropriate belt that she wears (though it appears to match her dress nicely … perhaps costumer Ania Mieszkowska could have made it just a bit more inappropriate!). By Act 2, however, she is a mother and throughout the rest of the play she gradually becomes the boss in the house, especially after Andrei runs up a huge gambling debt and has to mortgage the house in order to pay it.

Patrick Hunt is particularly good as Chebutykin, the old doctor (“nearly 70″), who starts the play as a fun person who has given up drinking and is living a clean life, but later reverts to his old ways and, while drunk, blurts out a shameful family secret. Irina is his favorite of the three sisters and he is forever bringing her gifts. (Some speculate that as Chebutykin once had an affair with the girls’ mother, that Irina is really his child, though there is nothing in the plot to address that.)

The smallness of the theater (a little gem of a space carved out of part of Third Space, the multipurpose space housing shops, studios, workshops, etc., on Olive Drive behind Redrum Burger) brings the audience into the family and makes us all feel, at times, like uncomfortable guests at a dysfunctional family dinner.

Comments

comments

  • Recent Posts

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this newspaper and receive notifications of new articles by email.

  • .

    News

    Former foster youths aided by UCD’s Guardian programs

    By Sarah Colwell | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    Rain Recyclers saves water for another day

    By Elizabeth Case | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    Konditorei presents free holiday concert

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    City offices will take a winter break

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Supplies collected for victims of abuse

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    New technology chief will join McNaughton Newspapers

    By Tanya Perez | From Page: A3 | Gallery

     
    Feds will discuss Berryessa Snow Mountain protection

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    ‘Longest Night’ service Saturday

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Journalist will join post-film discussion Thursday

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Nominate teens for Golden Heart awards

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Yolo County needs a few good advisers

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    Per Capita Davis: Time to stop fooling around

    By John Mott-Smith | From Page: A4

     
    NAMI-Yolo offers free mental health education program

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

    .

    Forum

    Marovich is a brilliant diplomat

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6

     
    And a jolly time was had by all

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6 | Gallery

    Tom Meyer cartoon

    By Debbie Davis | From Page: A6

     
    Remember that all lives matter

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

    Pollution from electric vehicles

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

     
    .

    Sports

    On skiing: What to know when buying new skis

    By Jeffrey Weidel | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    Devil boys host Les Curry beginning Thursday

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

    UCD women gear up for second half of swim season

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    Aggie men begin 4-game road trip at Air Force

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    Youth roundup: DBC Juniors rider Kanz wins a cyclocross event

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B2 | Gallery

     
    .

    Features

    College Corner: How does applying for financial aid work?

    By Jennifer Borenstein | From Page: B3

     
    What’s happening

    By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: B3

     
    Anniversary: Barbara and Jan Carter

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A8

    Something growing in the mailbox

    By Don Shor | From Page: A8 | Gallery

     
    .

    Arts

    Sing and dance along to Cold Shot at Froggy’s

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A7 | Gallery

     
    Point of Brew: Recollections of Christmases past

    By Michael Lewis | From Page: A7

    Come ‘Home for the Holidays’ and benefit school arts

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A7

     
    Golden Bough brings Irish holidays to The Palms

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A7 | Gallery

    .

    Business

    .

    Obituaries

    Rena Sylvia Smilkstein

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

     
    .

    Comics

    Comics: Thursday, December 18, 2014

    By Creator | From Page: B6

     
    .

    Last Minute Gift Guide

    Young phenoms make YouTube success look like child’s play

    By The Associated Press | From Page: LMG1

    Classic or contemporary, it’s all holiday music to our ears

    By The Associated Press | From Page: LMG2

    Teen gifts: ideas for hard-to-buy-for big kids

    By The Associated Press | From Page: LMG3

    Gift ideas for the health-conscious

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: LMG6

    Hall of Fame proudly puts these toys on the shelf

    By The Associated Press | From Page: LMG7