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  • Three Sisters by Anton Chekhov

    Three Sisters by Anton Chekhov.

  • Margaret Knapp, Assistant Professor of Theatre

    Margaret Knapp, Assistant Professor of Theatre.

Margaret Knapp's directorial vision for Chekhov's Three Sisters

As the director of Colorado Mesa University's upcoming production of Anton Chekhov's masterpiece, Three Sisters, new faculty member and Assistant Professor of Theatre Margaret Knapp offers a glimpse into her connection with the play’s characters and underlying themes.

Three Sisters is not merely a theatrical piece; it's a profound exploration of the human psyche, delving into themes of unfulfilled dreams and the perpetual pursuit of happiness. For Knapp, the resonance lies in the portrayal of longing, where the allure of one's aspirations often overshadows the reality of existence.

"The play examines an 'unfelt life' where the dream of what your life could be is much more engaging than the life you actually have,” she said. “I think many actors suffer from this as we always think the next project, or the next show will get us the recognition or happiness that we want."

While approaching the direction of Three Sisters, Knapp is exploring the layers of Chekhov's narrative, seeking to balance the naturalistic style of the piece with contemporary accessibility. With a dedication to thorough research, she ensures that every aspect of the production resonates with historical accuracy while transcending time and place.

Inviting modern audiences to engage with the play's timeless themes, Knapp draws parallels with acclaimed television series’ like Succession, emphasizing the evolution of characters over time.

"If an audience has ever seen Succession,” Knapp said, “that script is similar in that the characters seem to be doing the same external actions over and over, but over the course of four seasons they psychologically change quite a bit and come to know and hopefully accept themselves, for better or for worse."

Just as the characters in Three Sisters navigate the complexities of their lives, grappling with hopes, fears, and tragedies, viewers of Succession go on a similar journey of psychological transformation. Through this lens, Knapp hopes to ignite conversations about the human condition, inviting audiences to contemplate their own aspirations and struggles.

Knapp's production marks a significant departure from CMU’s traditional rehearsal process. For the first time, a dedicated class serves as the foundation for preparation and exploration, providing students with time to delve into character development and thematic analysis. Through this immersive experience, students gain a deeper understanding of their roles, embodying the nuances of their characters with authenticity and depth.

With a commitment to collaboration and inclusivity, Knapp is creating a safe space for students to explore and grow, encouraging them to embrace vulnerability and risk-taking as integral aspects of artistic expression.

For Knapp, this production serves not only as a testament to her artistic vision but also as a reflection of her values as a teacher and mentor. Through her immersive approach to storytelling, she hopes to foster a deeper understanding of the human condition and inspire audiences on a journey of introspection and empathy.

In a world filled with uncertainty and longing, Chekhov's timeless tale reminds us of the enduring power of hope, resilience and the unbreakable bonds of family and love.

Three Sisters runs from April 18-27 in the Moss Performing Arts Center Mesa Experimental Theatre. Tickets are available at


Written by Laura Bradley