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The Three Sisters

3.75  ·  Rating details ·  14,599 ratings  ·  517 reviews
First performed at the Moscow Art Theatre in 1901, The Three Sisters probes the lives and dreams of Olga, Masha, and Irina, former Muscovites now living in a provincial town from which they long to escape. Their hopes for a life more suited to their cultivated tastes and sensibilities provide a touching counterpoint to the relentless flow of compromising events in the real ...more
Paperback, 81 pages
Published May 12th 1993 by Dover Publications (first published 1900)
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3.75  · 
Rating details
 ·  14,599 ratings  ·  517 reviews

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Ahmad Sharabiani
Три сестры = The Three Sisters, Anton Chekhov
Three Sisters is a play by the Russian author and playwright Anton Chekhov. It was written in 1900 and first performed in 1901 at the Moscow Art Theatre. The play is sometimes included on the short list of Chekhov's outstanding plays, along with The Cherry Orchard, The Seagull and Uncle Vanya.
Act one begins with Olga (the eldest sister), working as a teacher in a school, but at the end of the play, she is made headmistress, a promotion in which she h
Sep 05, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 1-fiction
Book Review
4 out of 5 stars to The Three Sisters, a Russian play published in 1900 by Anton Chekhov. What an introspective work, but then again, Chekov is always at the top of this particular game, that is, presenting a slice of life we know dear to our hearts. In this one, perhaps his most famous play, three sisters are stuck in a small Russian village, but year to be back in Moscow. Circumstances prevent it. If you don't know any Russian history, you might want to brush up on it before tak
Jan 23, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 19-century, drama, russia, 2016

So far I have been very lucky with the theatre productions I have been attending. This one did not shine as much, though. I wonder whether had I not been able to compare to some brilliant staging would this play have engaged me more.

Nonetheless, it was entertaining. The setting was ‘realistic’, with the décor of a late nineteenth century Russia middle class home, with the most appealing aspect in the way parallel actions and conversations could take place on a single defined space. The acting wa
David Schaafsma
Jan 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: plays
“After us they'll fly in hot air balloons, coat styles will change, perhaps they'll discover a sixth sense and cultivate it, but life will remain the same, a hard life full of secrets, but happy. And a thousand years from now man will still be sighing, 'Oh! Life is so hard!' and will still, like now, be afraid of death and not want to die.”

The Three Sisters examines the lives of the Prozorovs, a Russian family who live in a provincial town far from Moscow. The three sisters, Masha, Olga, and Ir
Apr 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: russian, plays
By the sea stands a green oak tree;
A golden chain strung round it:
And on the chain a learned cat
Day and night circles round it;
Walking right, he sings a song,
Walking left, he tells a tale.

— Alexander Pushkin

The tale, this time, is not about Ruslan and Ludmila, the epic poem written by Pushkin and published in 1820, whose opening lines were inspired by the author’s favorite tree, which turned out to be a mulberry tree in Taganrog, in southern Russia. Between us, and as some residents said, he was
This review is not of Chekhov's brilliant play, but of the translation by Moura Budberg.

If you know me, you know I love Chekhov, and I love comparing different translations of his plays. I find it fascinating how people can view the same piece of writing so differently.


The problem with Budberg's translation is how stuffy it is. It is very classy stuff, lots of technique is called for from the women to overact, and throw themselves on the nearest gentleman wailing in hysterics.

These people wer
”There can be no happiness for us, it only exists in our wishes.”

I picked up this play on a whim, after seeing a few negative reviews by my friends. Curiosity mooted me to find out what they didn’t like about it. A close friend, however, did remark that I would love it and honestly, I did. If I were to sum up my understanding of the undercurrents that flowed under this play, it would be the quote I shared above, which is from this play itself.

Life is to be lived forwards and understood backw
3.5/5 based on this translation.

The story goes that many years ago, a couple saw a performance of Chekhov’s THREE SISTERS, afterwards, the husband gentleman turn to his wife and moaned, “Three hours, and they didn’t get to Moscow!” The wife turned to her husband, shot him a withering look and said in the driest of tones, “Murray, if they got to Moscow, it would have been a musical!”

Chekhov believed THREE SISTERS to be a comedy. In fact, Chekhov was convinced of it. When the Moscow Art Theatre ga
Written and performed at the turn of the century (1900), The Three Sisters is one of Chekhov's best known plays. The sisters, Olga, Masha, and Irina, former Muscovite's now living in a provincial city, are struggling to find happiness in their lives. They dream of returning to Moscow someday to find love and fulfillment, but they are trapped by the events and circumstances surrounding their daily lives. The themes in the play are very subtle and it can be a difficult one to read. It would be bet ...more
Aug 08, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: russian-lit, plays
Three Sisters tells us the lives, struggles and dreams of Olga, Masha and Irina at a time of social and political change in Russia. Change and transformation has been one of the key themes of Chekhov as the social and political changes were slowly making progress through Russia. Though Chekhov didn't live to see the Russian revolution, his works hints at future change which was inevitable.

Olga, Masha and Irina dream of settling down in Moscow and living in an elevated society. Their struggle to
Oct 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing
"And, restless, seeks the stormy ocean, as though in tempest there were peace."

I feel this is an amazing play that stunningly portraits existential crisis inevitable in the life of every person who thinks of life in a deeper way.

TUZENBAKH: You think it's no use even dreaming of happiness! But what if I'm happy?
VERSHININ: No, you're not.

MASHA: Gogol says: it's dull living in this world, friends!

I really liked the exploration of themes of transience and the meaning of life (found in work, amb
Mar 24, 2015 rated it really liked it

Three Sisters is a classic play written by Anton Chekhov. It opened in 1901 and one of the premiere actors was none other then Stanislovsky. The central theme of this work is to showcase the hopes and dreams of the characters. However, the circumstances surrounding this family with three sisters cripples any attempt for joy.


The Sisters
Olya is the oldest sister. She thrives as the caretaker of the family. She is a teacher and a spinster. At one point tells Irina that she would have married "any m
Ivana Books Are Magic
Jul 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
As much as I loved listening to an audio version of this book, I really long to see this play on stage. I feel like I'll be better able to understand it once I see it played out. I feel like it's just one of those plays, the kind that is meant to be seen and not only read (or listened to). A play is, at times, such a delicate genre. So many things need to fall in place for it to work. This was actually my first play by Chekhov. I've read so many short stories by Chekhov, and as I'm always hungry ...more
Jun 30, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Anton Chekhov seems so deceptively simple in his great plays such as The Three Sisters that we sometimes don't see the mystery that is there. In this case, we have a young family consisting of a brother and three sisters, all full of high hopes and expressing a wish to move to Moscow, where "the lights are much brighter there/you can forget all your troubles, forget all your cares." The mystery is in the curious entropy of life, that proceeds heedless of our wishes and dreams.

Even Andrey, the br
So, what’s this play about?

In a nutshell, and I think this quote from Act 4 sums it up nicely:

(view spoiler)

Like all the other works I’ve read by Chekhov, this is also not an easy read. Yep, Chekhov makes you work for it. I thought the reason why it was tough is because I was looking for the main character and a signposts that told me which
Gorab Jain
Apr 09, 2017 marked it as abandoned
Stopped at 25%. Saving this gem for sleepless nights :|
David Sarkies
Oct 01, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: modernist
Reminiscing on the Past and Reflecting on the Future
3 October 2013

Reading this play I got the impression that it was basically about a group of people sitting in a house talking about philosophy and pining for the good old days. As I have mentioned before, reading plays, especially if I have not seen them performed, can be a difficult task at best, and sometimes I have to read some two of three times to be able to follow them (though some of them I need to read only once – however Chekov does n
Aug 20, 2016 rated it really liked it
I've Seen it in the Theater with buddies, at Kurdistan region!
Apr 08, 2017 rated it did not like it
Recommended to Em*bedded-in-books* by: Kru
1.5 stars.
I am not very particular to plays, and perhaps this fact coupled with the fact that I find long and confusing names a deterrent to the story, along with the multiple minor characters made me dislike the book.
What I understood:
-there's a brother and 3 sisters
- brother has a sweetheart whom he marries and who shows her true colors slowly after marriage
-three sisters are slowly alienated and displaced from their house
-there are many army gentlemen whose only chore is to attend dinner par
To read Chekhov (the dramatist) is to crack a case!

His literary style does not include a central plot which drives the play, the tragedy and comedy are inextricably intertwined, the lack of clarity and defined meanings are intrinsic characteristics of his drama, which eventually puzzles the reader, It may even allude to a static plot consisting of characters mulling upon the mundane! “The three sisters” seems to follow the same pattern that focuses on the development of the different characters'
Jan 27, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Bettie
Available at LibriVox:

From BBC Radio 3 - Drama on 3:
Three sisters living in a garrison town in provincial Russia dream of the day that they will return to their home city of Moscow. Maybe then their lives will really start. But in Anton Chekhov's poignant classic somehow real life keeps getting in the way.

Three Sisters was written in 1900 and is a meticulously observed play for an ensemble cast. In its wry portrayal of dreams and self-delusion, and of the
Oct 13, 2008 rated it it was ok
Shelves: plays, fiction
I have an intense love/hate relationship with Chekhov and it is because of this play. Three sisters sitting around whining about taking the train to Moscow. It is a story of transformation, boredom and listlessness. Which may be why I felt bored and listless when reading it. Perhaps. To go to Moscow. To go back to Moscow. Moscow. . .Moscow. . .
May 16, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Oh does this play cut to the bone! Maybe Chekhov's best play, the dreams and despairs of a parade of memorable characters are revealed against the backdrop of socially restless Russia, glimpsed at four precisely chosen moments, stretched over three years of their lives. Olga is the good girl, Masha is the bad one, and Irina is the idealist, while their brother wallows in self-pity and alienation and the men who love them compete for love they'd rather find in Moscow. A perfect encapsulation of w ...more
Oct 31, 2011 rated it it was amazing
This play contains multitudes beneath the the surface banalities. I don't even know how to approach a review of this masterpiece. Suffice it to say that it's a beautifully written tragedy with surprising moments of humor. Nabokov said that no writer created more pathetic characters than Chekov, and certainly this play attests to that, but its greatness is beyond that. This is a case where I don't know how to do the work justice in a review, so I will instead merely give this masterpiece the high ...more
Mar 20, 2017 rated it liked it
At least they knew what they wanted ... Moscow Moscow Moscow ...
Paul Gaya Ochieng Simeon Juma
Aiyayaya... Such a beautiful gem. I don't know whether I really know Chekhov. This is what I needed for the great introduction. A masterful play, it leaves your heart wondering what to do for your life. The book tells the story of three sisters and one brother. Life to them, like to me and I believe to most of humanity is full of unforseen challenges. At times we wish we had sign posts to direct us to where we should go. But our direction, as stated by Checkov is determined by out faith and with ...more
Jan 24, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobooks
More random observations than reviews: If you're casting three female title characters and they will all be talking together, you really need to cast people who have distinctively different voices. However, nonetheless, yet again Chekhov writes a play filled with indolent aristocrats, peasants, and the newly arrived middle classes and how they come together. Scenes like when Natasha, the wife, rages at Nanny the old servant who has been with the family for 30 years, are painfully ugly and show a ...more
Les Trois Sœurs
(The Three Sisters) published 1900
By Anton Chekhov (1860-1904)

In a letter to his brother, Anton Chekhov set out his following guidelines for writing literature:

1. Absence of lengthy verbiage of political-social-economic nature;
2. Total objectivity;
3. Truthful descriptions of persons and objects;
4. Extreme brevity;
5. Audacity and originality; flee the stereotype;
6. Compassion."

When reading this short play, ‘The Three Sisters,' I could well see what he was aiming at.

The decorum
Sharadha Jayaraman
Apr 10, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: classics, 2017, plays
I am a little salty about this play. I liked it because it's my first play that I've read in years (dissected some of them Shakespeares waaaayyyyy back in high school) and disliked it because it just serves as testimony to how much better plays were when taught in school! Will I stop reading Chekhov? Nope, I still am interested in plays and his works (crazy for classics, really) so I'll give them all a go.

Detailed review to come.
B. P. Rinehart
(Translated by Ann Dunnigan.)

Well, this was a decent play. I can't help being a little disappointed that it was a little too melodramatic than what I am use to by Chekhov, but I did appreciate the humor and dry wit sprinkled in this play. I wanted more emotion, but not as melodrama. All that said, this is still a nicely written play and it had more than its good share of themes to explore. I think the main commentary on the changing (or as we know with hindsight, ending) of Russian bourgeoisie l
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Anton Pavlovich Chekhov (Russian: Антон Павлович Чехов ) was born in the small seaport of Taganrog, southern Russia, the son of a grocer. Chekhov's grandfather was a serf, who had bought his own freedom and that of his three sons in 1841. He also taught himself to read and write. Yevgenia Morozova, Chekhov's mother, was the daughter of a cloth merchant.
"When I think back on my childhood," Chekhov
“A woman can become a man's friend only in the following stages - first an acquantaince, next a mistress, and only then a friend.” 213 likes
“Do you see that tree? It is dead but it still sways in the wind with the others. I think it would be like that with me. That if I died I would still be part of life in one way or another.” 140 likes
More quotes…