With Thr3e Zisters, Lola B. Pierson offers audiences an off-ramp from the mundane. The author believes a lack of true creativity exists in contemporary theater under the influence of American capitalist conformism. More a collaborative performance art piece than a play, the work borrows characters from Anton Chekhov’s 1900 The Three Sisters, with the title characters transformed to exhumed zombies. Story and plot give compromise to Vaudevillesque sight comedy and fourth wall-breaking didactic monologues on topics of misogyny and the male libido’s detrimental impact upon interpersonal relationships. An especially memorable and symbolic moment occurs when one of the men pleasures himself on The Bible. At a climactic moment, simulated entrails are tossed to the house. The work of Chekhov is evaluated along the way through synopsis and critique. Just over one hour with no intermission, Thr3e Zisters does for the theatre what protest songs did for music in the 1960s, i.e., the theatrical art yields to avant-garde social commentary.
The male characters are very nearly interchange-able; the female leads marginally less so. All are played masterfully by the cast, consisting of Heather Hanna, Jenny Larson, Shawn Sides, Jay Byrd, Zac Crofford, Noel Gaulin, and Robert Matney. Technical support is expertly executed by Natalie George (lighting) and Robert Fisher (sound). Inspired costuming by Jessica Gilzow and set design by Ia Ensterä combine for a delicious graphic presentation.
Edgy, sardonic, and witty, Thr3e Zisters may not appeal to fans of venerable theatrical standards, but for those open to explore unconventional alternative art, it serves up a visually stunning experience.