This clownesque version of Three Sisters makes you puzzled, shocked, disappointed and bored in just under 5 minutes and with not a single smile. Leaving you wondering why there is a need to torture audience for much longer… though even for that you see an answer very quickly, where the director focuses your attention on Chebutykin, an old and tired doctor, who think that life is just an illusion and nothing matters, giving you a not-so-subtle hint that this is the self-indulgent director’s point of view. Before the start of the play Konchalovsky asks you to switch your mobile phone off, suggesting that Chekhov wouldn’t like your phone to ring during the play, since he was known for his attention to detail. Ironically that’s exactly the reason, why Chekhov himself would have probably walked away from this performance a few minutes in, right when blatantly obvious becomes painfully boring.
It is perhaps ok to serve a burnt toast for dinner to make a point, but is plain rude and unnecessary to shove it down people throats for over 2 hours, which the director himself and his young wife playing Masha should understand, since they have their own culinary show. Cancelling the play at the very beginning or inviting a proper circus with bears on stage would have been a much more engaging and respectable act.
The only thought provoking moment comes when Russian part of the audience gives this self-indulgent “balagan” a standing ovation. It makes you think, if this blunt and somewhat insulting incompetence deserves applause, and after over 100 years of Chehov’s demise the Russian audience evolved to hail anything thrown at them with such devotion, maybe Konchalovsky is right and all the vivid dreams of better life so poignant in the Chehov’s plays should be ridiculed and there is no hope. But as Chechov 100 years ago, I choose to think there still is.