Three Sisters

by Anton Chekhov

Version by Sarah Ruhl

Act IV: Andrei

Read by Olivia MacFadden Elliot

Oh, where is it, where did my past go, when I was young, happy and intelligent, when my dreams and thoughts had some grace, and the present and future were lit up with hope? Why is it, that when we’ve just started to live, we grow dull, gray, uninteresting, lazy, useless, with flattened-out souls? Our town has been around for two hundred years, a hundred thousand people live in it, and there’s not a single one who’s not just like all the others, not one that stands out, past or present, not one scholar, not one artist, not one mildly remarkable person, who would arouse envy, or passionate imitation. They only eat, drink, sleep, and die. Others are born — they too eat, drink and sleep, and, to save themselves from insane boredom, they find variety in vicious gossip, vodka, cards, and pointless lawsuits, and wives deceive their husbands, husbands lie too, pretending not to see or hear, and this vulgarity inevitably wears away at the children, and God’s spark dies out in them. They become the same sad homogenous corpses as their fathers, and their mothers… The present is disgusting, but when I imagine the future — oh, how good! It becomes easy, spacious, in the distance, a little piece of light, I see freedom, how my children and I will be free from idleness, from beer, from goose and cabbage, from epic post-prandial naps, from being sick leeches…