Brian Friel’s translation of Three Sisters was undertaken primarily as an act of love and, since the only Chekhov translations available to the Irish Theatre at the time (1981) were American and English, in the hope that it might make the unique experience of Chekhov more accessible to Irish audiences. This act of love and homage is natural and fitting for the spirit of the Russian master has informed much of Friel’s writing, in stories and plays. In Three Sisters he presents brilliantly the social atmosphere, its characters’ resolution to return to Moscow, their great passions and epiphanies, and their gradual self-realisation.
‘Friel’s scholarly style and technical accomplishment merge beautifully into the Russian landscape and his colloquial interjections in no way detract from grand Chekhovian symphony.’ — Michael Sheridan, The Irish Press
‘I can think of no contemporary Irish writer who has so boldly and delicately explored the complexities of the Irish mind, or displayed such an understanding of the relationship between land and language.’ — Paul Muldoon, TLS
‘Friel has succeeded admirably with a script that is more literate, more touching, more luminous and more enjoyable than the more academic versions that have gone before.’ — David Nowlan, The Irish Times