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'Three Sisters' Revisited, Hardly Aged

Three Sisters Pic.jpg
Olga Konstantulakis, Noelle Messier and Evelyn Lorena are Chekhov's "Three Sisters"
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Thirty-five years after he took his first shot at directing "Three Sisters" for LA's now-venerable Company of Angels, Pavel Cerny is tackling the classic again at the Whitefire Theatre in Sherman Oaks.

This time around, Cerny has shifted the action forward some eight or nine decades to take place in the Perestroika era of the mid- to late 1980s, so characters occasionally end up talking about the Beatles' early days in Hamburg, wearing miniskirts, or ascending the ranks of the soon-to-be-devalued Communist Party. For all the updated references it tosses around, though, this new adaptation is no radical reimagining of Chekhov's work. By reconfiguring its historical context, rather, Cerny has tinkered with the play just enough to keep its traditional dramatic impact undiminished.

Which, if you've seen "Three Sisters" before, you know means a long, involved, and ultimately moving evening, with over a dozen different actors each getting their turn in the spotlight. Especially worthy in this cast are Mark Deliman as the charmingly nebbishy soldier-suitor Tuzenbakh, Olga Konstantulakis as the unhappily married Masha and Don Baldaramos as her decently dull husband Kuligin.

"Three Sisters, or Perestroika" plays Thursday evenings at 8:00 and Sunday afternoons at 3:00 through June 12. Tickets $28.50 and $17.25 on theatermania, $16.50 through the LA Stage Alliance.