Mula Lay – Staff Writer
The Three Sisters is a production by the theatre department at Gustavus. The play is written by Anton Checkoff, who was a pioneer in realism theater, and is a snapshot of what life was like in the 1800s in Russia. The play spans across five years from the perspectives of three sisters. The three sisters, who have been moved from their birth town of Moscow, dreams of returning to Moscow. The play is a snippet into everyday life and features issues that one would face during the 1800s in Russia.
Senior Jordan Johnson, a theatre honors major, plays the character Olga and this production is her honors project. Olga is the oldest of the three sisters and a caretaker of the family. Olga is near her thirties and must be the mother figure to her two sisters and one younger brother. Olga deals with internal issues which puts a pressure on her in keeping the family together. At the end of the production, Johnson will write a paper that reflects on her experience.
The play, which would originally be a stage performance with an audience, has shifted into more of a stage film that will be livestreamed at 7 p.m. on May 8 and 3 p.m. on May 9. The cast and crew shifted to a virtual format as a way to adapt to COVID-19. They would also wash their hands before every act and used hand sanitizers before every scene.
For the filming of the play, the cast wore plastic masks so that their faces could be seen while they were still protected from COVID-19. Before and after filming a scene, they would sanitize all the props and plastic masks. When they were not filming, they would have cloth masks on.
“We all had to take advantage of the mass [COVID-19] testing […] I felt nervous about it going in [to perform] but during it, I felt a bit safer considering everyone in the cast kind of became a bubble,”
-Senior Jordan Johnson
The change from a live performance to a film was beneficial for Johnson as she would like to end up acting in films. One of the things Johnson was excited about was the use of subtlety in expression instead of a more dramatic theatrical performance.
“I was so excited to just do micro expressions because I find these little individual moments that you can get during films, such as […] shifty eyes and glances, something you can’t capture all the time in theater, so I was really excited to tap into that,”
In order to make the play more palatable in a film sense, a significant portion of the script had to be whittled down. Of the 144 pages of the original script, only 41 pages were kept.
The film is roughly two hours long and the link to the livestream will be posted at gustavus.edu/theatre-dance.