LEWISTON – Bates College will present six performances of Anton Chekhov’s tragicomic play “The Three Sisters.” This is the premiere of a new translation by Laurence Senelick, professor of drama at Tufts University,

Staged in Schaeffer Theatre, 305 College Ave., the performances will be 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, March 11 to 12 and 18 to 19, and 2 p.m. Sundays, March 13 and 20.

Published in 1901, “The Three Sisters” is the story of three sisters and a brother, members of the privileged class, stuck in a provincial backwater and pining for the excitements of Moscow. “This is a play that’s always relevant to the way things are,” says Martin Andrucki, director of the theater department production and Dana Professor of Theater.

“It inhabits that space between hope and despair where most people spend most of their lives. Everyone in the play is longing for fulfillment, and everyone discovers the inevitability of loss and compromise.”

Senelick is also the author of “The Chekhov Theatre: A Century of the Plays in Performance. The translation that Bates is premiering was among five Senelick renderings of Chekhov plays published last fall in a W.W. Norton collection, “Anton Chekhov’s Selected Plays.” Senelick offered the premiere-performance opportunity to Andrucki, a friend from their grad school days at Harvard.

Other prominent Chekhov translations come from Britain, said Andrucki. Senelick’s “sound American rather than British, which means it sounds neutral to our American ears, which is what you want. He hasn’t imposed some quirky voice on them.”

As for “The Three Sisters” itself, Andrucki says, the play is a solid choice for a college-age cast. “Most of the characters are close in age to our undergraduates, and their emotional needs and desires are familiar and accessible,” he explains.

Chekhov is “the master of the subtext – of what’s not said in the lines, but what lies beneath and behind them,” Andrucki said.

Admission is $6 for the general public and $3 for seniors and non-Bates students. For reservations and more information, people can call (207) 786-6161 or visit www.bates.edu/boxoffice.

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