THE FOURTH SISTER exists in a sort of Russian bizarro
world, where fantasy and reality coexist, and where the inspiration for the
material is drawn from literary works ranging from Chekhov’s "Three Sisters"
to "Cinderella." There is even a nod toward "Pygmalion," and a wink at a
host of popular mafia stories. Campy and experimental, with a witty
undertone of politics and current events, this creative play is a true mixed
But, does it work?
Hmmm, there’s the rub. There is something missing here.
There is no discernible centralized, unifying point. There is no eye of the
storm. It seems that in the effort to add humor, the goal has been blurred.
This does not mean that THE FOURTH SISTER is not entertaining. It is.
However, the end result seems not to be a result of the actions that have
led up to it, but rather a kitschy choice for an unexpected ending. Such
choices can work quite well, but here, unless I have grossly missed the
point, all of the light-toned banter that comprise 99% of the play were a
deceptive devise employed only to heighten the philosophical position that
there is no hope for the future.
If that sounds scary, it is only a few moments. The rest
of the time, there is a lot of humor provided by the script and the cast.
Here, three sisters in modern-day Moscow seek a better life. The sisters,
vigorously portrayed by Alicia Goranson, Jessica Hecht and Marin Hinkle,
fuel the action. One finds love in the arms of a doomed gangster. One steals
food from circus animals for survival and has an affair with a director from
the United States. The third becomes pregnant by a married politician. Then
there is the "fourth sister," a young orphan made to serve the family. In
this, the fourth sister, lies hope for the future…
THE FOURTH SISTER lies in that grey area of theater
where an audience will certainly be more forgiving than a critic, surely
focusing on the merits more than on the flaws. If you go for fun, you will
surely find it.
- Kessa De Santis -