sat 17/08/2019

h 100 Young Influencers of the Year: Hannah Greenstreet on Three Sisters | reviews, news & interviews

h 100 Young Influencers of the Year: Hannah Greenstreet on Three Sisters

h 100 Young Influencers of the Year: Hannah Greenstreet on Three Sisters

The third finalist in theartsdesk's award in association with The Hospital Club addresses her review to the creators of a Chekhov production

Hannah Greenstreet: 'I came out of Three Sisters ready to roll up my sleeves and fuck shit up'

Dear RashDash,

I know you don’t like critics because Abbi read out a lot of reviews of famous Chekhov productions very fast, wearing a ruff and sequined hot pants. But I promise I won’t rate you out of five or patronise you with a gold star or give you a quotable soundbite to put on your posters. Even though I know you got four stars from The Times and the Guardian and the Stage because it says so on the back of the play text, which I bought because I had to take a piece of the show away with me.

I’m not going to write what happens because nothing happens in Chekhov and by getting rid of the men in Three Sisters, who have most of the lines and do most of the happening, your version steps out of the linear narrative of nothing happening. You pile up images that don’t necessarily fit together or get explained. You heap them up into something bigger, like the pile of discarded costumes in the corner of the stage. Here are some of my favourites:

Olga, Irina and Masha draped across furniture in exquisite ennui

The "Tick-Tock Tick-Tock" ticker tape machine

The Spice Girls party costumes

Olga piling up books on Masha’s chest and standing on top of them – the weight of the canon

The Chekhov cheerleader dance – ‘Give me a C-H-E-K-H-O-V!’

Olga snogging a bust of Chekhov

The three sisters dressed in bear suits

Irina lying across the piano keys

I liked how each of you got your moment in the spotlight: Chloe Rianna’s banging drum solo; Yoon-Ji Kim’s double-stopping violin piece; Irina’s (Becky Wilkie’s) octave-spanning turn on the piano; Olga’s Katie Perry and Sia-inspired tribute to having fun (Helen Goalen’s); Masha’s (Abbi Greenland’s) power ballad about the kind of man she wants in her life. Consciously virtuosic moments that weren’t allowed to compromise the ensemble. I liked how you watched and listened to each other when it wasn’t your turn to make noise.

Three Sisters asks the question, what art could we make if we stopped trying to be ‘good’ on patriarchal terms? Your solution is not to impersonate male genius. Your solution is work. Not Irina’s bourgeois fantasy of work to give some kind of meaning to her life. But the work of making art. We see you change your costumes and sweat and get out of breath. Creative work is political work.

This work is about the collective not the individual, smashing the characters out of their enforced ennui, taking us out of the show. I like how at the end all of you are sitting together in the drawing room, hugging, taking up space. I came out of Three Sisters ready to roll up my sleeves and fuck shit up.

Really I just want to ask to join your band, please. I can’t play a musical instrument but I’d be alright as a backing singer. And I’m ready to work.

This review originally appeared in Exeunt Magazine

Hannah Greenstreet writes about theatre for Exeunt Magazine and The Stage. She is also a playwright and has developed her writing with Spread the Word, Soho Theatre Writers’ Lab, and the North Wall Arts Centre. She is currently working on a PhD in feminist theatre at Oxford University

@hgreenstreet1

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