Anton Chekhov’s Three Sisters: A “Contemporary” Text in Translation, Dramaturgy, & Performance

What are the methods by which theatre artists can excavate and reify classical texts for a contemporary audience?

Project Abstract

Professors Simek and Lingafelter team up with the Portland Experimental Theatre Company, of which Professor Lingafelter is a founding member, to produce a site-specific adaptation of Anton Chekhov’s Three Sisters in Simek’s new translation and under his direction. Professors Simek and Lingafelter will collaborate with the company, and the participating students to excavate Chekhov’s text from under the centuries of romantic English translations and interpretations and create a new, contemporary translation and production of the play. The project will approach the basic questions of how to “excavate Chekhov’s text from under more than a century of romanticized English translations to a text that feels utterly contemporary,” and how to “explore, teach, and perform Chekhov in a more active way, in a synergic manner”. In that it strives to marry the work of a translator with the work of the actor, and it subjects the hypothetical assumption that the text ought to be direct and simple to the practical test of performance.

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