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Chekov's 'Three Sisters' to be Staged by Juniata Theatre Students

(Posted February 6, 2012)

HUNTINGDON, Pa. -- The old Russian adage from Leo Tolstoy that all families are unhappy in their own way is given humor and life on stage by the Juniata College theatre department in the theatrical classic by Anton Chekov, "Three Sisters," to be staged Thursday, Feb. 16 through Saturday, Feb. 18, and again Feb. 23-25 at 7:30 p.m. in the Suzanne von Liebig Theatre in the Halbritter Center for the Performing Arts on the Juniata campus.

Tickets for the production are $4 for students and $7 for adults. Tickets are available at the box office before the performance and can be purchased online at https://secureweb.juniata.edu/tickets.

"When you work on Chekov it's like having a five-course meal at a great restaurant. By the end of the play you're so satiated that you'll have a sense of catharsis."
KJ Sanchez, guest director

"Three Sisters" was written in 1900 by Russian playwright Anton Chekov. The play focuses on Olga, Irina and Maria Prozorova, three siblings who live with their brother in a backwater Russian town. The sisters dream of moving to the big city (Moscow), but their choices in life and live hold them back. When their brother marries a young woman, the sister's lives are further complicated and entwined.

The four-act play will run about two hours and 30 minutes.

The play is directed by KJ Sanchez, who directed "Death. A Comedy with Music" at Juniata in 2011. While the plot and story of the Chekov classic remains the same, Sanchez his brought the setting forward in time from 1900s Russia to Huntingdon in the 1980s. "The town the sisters live in is much like a Pennsylvania (industrial) boomtown," Sanchez says. "The play is not a museum piece, though. It's still contemporary and relevant to our lives."

The director points out that "Three Sisters" retains it universal appeal because the story is recognizable to all audiences. "For hundreds of years we've been dealing with the same things -- longing for a better life, unrequited love," Sanchez says. "People think it's a gloomy play, but it's really quite funny.

"When you work on Chekov it's like having a five-course meal at a great restaurant," she adds. "By the end of the play you're so satiated that you'll have a sense of catharsis."

Actor, playwright and director KJ Sanchez. Sanchez is the founder of American Records theatre company, a production company that writes and produces plays based on interviews with real people who work in a specific industry, or have a common experience.

Sanchez founded the American Records company three years ago after her production of "ReEntry" gained popularity. She also is an associate artist with the theatrical group the Civilians.

Before starting her company, Sanchez was associate artistic director at the Two River Theatre Company and also acted in theatre and television roles, including credits on "ER," "Law and Order," and the "Apollo Comedy Hour." She also maintains an active career as a voiceover artist and currently works on the Nickelodeon shows "Dora the Explorer" and "Go Diego Go."

Sanchez is currently directing a play in Louisville, Ky., "The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity." "Three Sisters" also features several guest artists, including set designer Tommer Peterson, a retired graphic artist from Seattle, Wash. Lighting designer Richard Chamblin is based in New York City. Musician P.K. Pickens wrote the sound score, which is based loosely on military marches.

The Juniata students in the cast of "Three Sisters" is as follows: Gary Shoemaker, a sophomore from Summerdale, Pa.; Andrew Orsie, a senior from Summit Point, W.Va.; Ben Mahan, a junior from Havertown, Pa.; Nicolai Kuhling, an international student from Gelsenkirchen-Erie, Germany; Andrew Kilpatrick, a sophomore from Johnstown, Pa.; Chris Ingersoll, a sophomore from West Chester, Pa.; Brenna Fredrickson, a senior from Fairfax Station, Va.; Sara Deppenbrook, a senior from Beaver Falls, Pa.; Jessica Haggerty-Denison, a sophomore from Cherry Valley, N.Y.; Elizabeth Casey, a sophomore from Landisville, Pa.; Benson Canfield, a senior from Littleton, N.H., who graduated in December 2011; Genevieve Boutilier, a freshman from Bel Air, Md.; and Josh Beckel, assistant director of admissions at Juniata and a 2009 graduate.

Contact John Wall at wallj@juniata.edu or (814) 641-3132 for more information.