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Chekhov’s shun! Clinton Hill play has ‘poor door’ for cheap-ticket holders

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This is one to Chekhov your bucket list.

An experimental theater group is staging an immersive production of Anton Chekhov’s “Three Sisters” that will allow audience members choose their experience — and their ticket price — in the shuttered parish hall of a Clinton Hill church. Admission ranges from the 99-cent “serf ticket” to $99 “tsar ticket.” Big spenders get the royal treatment, but the folks in the cheap seats have to enter through a separate “poor door” and serve more affluent theatergoers.

“It’s as much an interpretation of Chekhov as a social experiment,” said Highly Impractical Theatre director Elana McKelahan.

In between the two extremes are tickets for the proletariat ($15), bourgeoisie ($25), and aristocracy ($50) — the former also has to take the poor door and will be patted down upon entering, but the latter two are spared the indignity. The aristocracy and tsars get gratis booze to boot. Serfs and tsars also play minor roles in the play, so tickets are limited, McKelahan said.

The original play is about a late-19th-century Muscovite family’s degradation and dissolution after a decade living in uncultured provincial Russia — a process accelerated by an adulterous sister-in-law’s machinations to dispossess them of their home.

But as part of McKelahan’s social experiment, Highly Impractical Theatre’s version is set in a dystopian near-future where Brooklyn is devoid of culture and is instead occupied by police.

“It’s set in 2040 in Brooklyn to explore issues America faces today but compounded,” McKelahan said. “The educated people have fled Brooklyn. There is extreme class division, wealth inequality, and deterioration. Instead of ushers, police will patrol the aisles.”

Still, the plot revolves around a house party, and the three-hour production promises singing, dancing, and a totally unique experience. Scenes take place in different rooms across three floors, so social status will determine where an audience member is when a given event goes down — think “Sleep No More” with a caste system.

“Certain scenes may take place simultaneously,” McKelahan said. “You will get a full experience regardless, but it will be different.”

But don’t feel like you’ll get the short end of the stick if you can’t pony up for the $99 experience.

“We’ve built in a significant discount for those who want to return to catch other parts,” McKelahan said.

“Three Sisters” (259 Washington Ave. between Dekalb and Myrtle avenues in Clinton Hill, www.highl‌yimpr‌actic‌althe‌atre.org) Sept. 4–28 at 5 pm. 99¢–$99.

Reach reporter Max Jaeger at mjaeg‌er@cn‌gloca‌l.com or by calling (718) 260-8303. Follow him on Twitter @MJaeger88.
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Reader Feedback

No Patience from With Self Indulgence says:
Between this and the Emily Dickinson shlock-fest in another article, the state of health of quality theatre in Brooklyn is...just about dead!
Aug. 27, 2014, 2:15 pm
Jenna from Park Slope says:
That's a rarely-used spelling of "Chekhov," I must say.
Aug. 27, 2014, 2:18 pm
Check from Brooklyn Heights says:
If quality theatre is dead because someone is putting on a play by Chekhov then why don't you go ahead and write something worth watching?
Aug. 27, 2014, 4:04 pm
ty from pps says:
Seriously... someone is trying to be creative and interactive with the staging of a play. OH GOD! How horrible!
Aug. 27, 2014, 4:21 pm
No Patience from With Self Indulgence says:
The description in the article doesn't sound like their actually performing "Three Sisters". It sounds like they are twisting the text for another Great Concept...

And then, of course, there's this: "Still, the plot revolves around a house party, and the three-hour production promises singing, dancing, and a totally unique experience. Scenes take place in different rooms across three floors, so social status will determine where an audience member is when a given event goes down — think “Sleep No More” with a caste system."

Yeah, that's exactly what Three Sisters is supposed to be! If you want to do a theater piece like that, then right your own. But don't pretend that vulgarizing another play makes you anything but schlock.
Aug. 28, 2014, 11:31 am
The Chooch from a more literate Brooklyn says:
"... Doesn't sound like their actually performing ..."

" ... If you want to do a theater piece like that, then right your own ..."

Gahd sugn.
Aug. 28, 2014, 4:58 pm
Check from Brooklyn Heights says:
No Patience, it clearly says that the entirety of the script is included UNCHANGED according to the director, so I don't see what you're possibly talking about with the "vulgarizing" except for a few songs... which the play already had to some extent. To be perfectly honest you sound awfully pretentious, using highfalutin language but spelling "write" as "right." You have the same pseudo-intellectual pompousness that breeds so well in Brooklyn.

Honestly I could care less about the play, I probably won't see it haha. I'm just so tired of listening to people like you criticize every single effort of other people and never offering an alternative or putting your own work on display.
Aug. 29, 2014, 1:08 am
Almudena Mijashe from Clinton Hill says:
I am so glad there is a new style of theatre, I am really looking forward to seeing the performance of a unique style of representing plays. Also, I am grateful that young artist are bringing culture accessible to this part of town. Congratulations!
Aug. 31, 2014, 3:36 pm
Fanny Alas from Somewhere in Manhattan says:
It is better to offer a activities involving art and culture in this world filled with negativity.
Aug. 31, 2014, 3:37 pm
Ventiko from Brooklyn says:
Hey there Negative Nancys,

Why don't you come check out the production this Thursday at 7:30 during the Preview?
Referencing specific elements of the experience such as set design, lighting, environment, and of course the acting would enhance the opions expressed above.

It's complimentary-out gift to you. Contact the director directly to be added to the comp list.

With love,

Ventiko
Sept. 1, 2014, 3:42 pm
Ventiko from Brooklyn says:
*correction to auto miscorrect above: opinions was misspelled as opion
Apologies.
Sept. 1, 2014, 3:45 pm

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