The Art Theatre of Davis is set to present their production of Anton Chekhov’s Three Sisters on Feb. 28. This up-and-coming theater company’s first play ever will be held at Third Space on Olive Drive.
The Art Theatre of Davis (ATD) was founded by SUNY Purchase College and Antioch College graduate and Davis native Timothy Nutter in fall 2013. The idea for the group sprouted when Nutter decided he wanted to bring his passion for acting and dance to Davis. Upon discovering Third Space, Nutter realized the venue was an optimal space for theatrical creation.
After deciding to found ATD, Nutter chose to focus the group’s work on a genre he considers “modern classics.” This means the group’s aim is to perform work from 19th and 20th-century playwrights of the western writing tradition. Ania Mieszkowska, assistant director for ATD’s production of Three Sisters, noticed the lack of modern classics in the Yolo County/Sacramento regions, and hopes to fill this theatrical gap.
“You can see Shakespeare, musical theatre, ballet and opera, but there’s a lot of writers from the late 19th and early 20th centuries — people like Oscar Wilde, George Bernard Shaw, Anton Chekhov, etc. — whose work doesn’t seem to get performed terribly often [in Yolo County/Sacramento],” Mieszkowska said.
The company has received a lot of talent and outreach from the Yolo County/Sacramento community. ATD is currently making last-minute touches to their production of Chekhov’s Three Sisters and are attempting to keep it true to the author’s original intentions. Nutter, along with the help of a local Russian interpreter, has translated the script to keep it as close to its original meaning as possible.
The cast of Three Sisters is made up of local talents including UC Davis history professor Baki Tezcan, UC Davis Shields Library employee Adam Siegel and local award-winning actress Scarlet O’Connor. ATD has received over $3,000 in donations for their upcoming production as well as numerous props and costume donations from theater-loving citizens in the Davis community.
ATD also faces the task of molding Third Space into a believable theater stage. The owner of the venue has granted the company permission to make whatever changes (permanent or temporary) they’d like to the space in order to help their play come to life.
Matthew Harral, ATD’s technical director, is looking to build a permanent stage that will be versatile enough to host many forms of art. The changes he makes to the venue are meant to cater to Nutter’s interpretation of Three Sisters but be vague enough to benefit Third Space as a whole.
“I’ve been trying to stay fairly faithful to the idea that the changes I make are not theater specific,” Harral said. “If I leave any improvements behind, I want to make sure they are beneficial for other kinds of events at Third Space.”
All of the work being put into the production is for the purpose of staying true to, perhaps, Chekhov’s most famous play. The story follows three sisters at the turn of the 19th century in Russia. The sisters are of aristocratic class, but suffer from existential crises. The play ultimately questions the meaning of life, the purpose of love and family and the slow destruction of the upper class in 19th and 20th-century Russian society.
Nutter and Mieszkowska said that they believe that modern classic playwrights speak to current modern society more so than Shakespeare and other pre-modernist era writers. Nutter said Three Sisters speaks to the philosophies of our lives today and hopes those who attend the production connect to the play.
“This is a play full of love and people struggling to find a way to live their lives successfully. It’s about people finding the [many and complex] obstacles they run into [as they lead their lives], and for that reason they don’t know why life isn’t working out. They can’t understand everything, which is a beautiful question for everyone to think about and learn from,” Nutter said.
Tickets are $15 for adults and $10 for students, children and seniors. To purchase tickets and for other ATD inquiries, you can send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. The play will run from Feb. 28 to March 16 from Thursday to Sunday. Friday and Thursday shows will start at 7 p.m. while Saturday and Sunday shows vary. You can contact Third Space at (530) 341-0540 for show time specifics.