Illustration of the profiles of three women

The Three Sisters

by Anton Chekhov

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What would be an actors approach to Anfisa from Three Sisters by Anton Chekhov?

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Ah, good question. An actor would need to approach Anfisa from several different directions. On the physical level, Anfisa is quite old. This would restrict her movements in a universal fashion, and would shape them in a culturally specific fashion. (It would be likely for her to use gestures that are out of date, just as an older gentleman might tip his hat, but a young man might be surprised by this.) On the social level, she is a servant, and so must communicate that she is of a lower rank via her body language. On the other hand, she's been with the family for more than 30 years, so she's likely to be at times like a family member and at times like a pet. As a result, her emotional position in relation to the family and any given action is likely to shift around; she's likely to be sensitive to slights, and to carry the past with her. This could be communicated by a voice that rises and falls, or by one that echoes past statements. On stage, she'd need to communicate all this as well, probably by being alternately over-attentive and distant.


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