Trapped in a provincial Russian town after the death of their father, three sisters lament the passing of better times and long for the excitement of Moscow. One of them has married a local high school teacher; another has become a teacher herself; the third has settled for a dull job in the local telegraph office. Their principal interest is focused on the officers of the local regiment, of which their father had been commandant, men who bring a sense of sophistication and the world outside to their stultified existence. Much of the action is concerned with the events of daily life: their brother's dull marriage; bittersweet flirtations with the regimental officers; and the gossip and restrictions of small town life. In the end the fateful pattern of their existence is made clear—their dreams will be denied but, despite all, there must always be hope, however futile, and the ways of the world are to be accepted, if not understood.
"Joining Mr. van Itallie's new English versions of THE SEA GULL and THE CHERRY ORCHARD, this eloquent, sensitive adaptation of the play that many consider to be Chekhov's masterpiece brings new life and pertinence to a modern classic.