Bruce McManus brings Chekhov home

Thursday night marks the premier showing of Bruce McManus’ adaptation of Anton Chekhov’s Three Sisters. While the play runs, from Oct. 6-16, it will be near impossible to find a higher concentration of home-grown talent in this city.

McManus has a resume as long as my arm. He has written 20 plays and several adaptations, won various residencies and grants, earning himself a reputation as a Manitoban theatre staple. McManus began this particular work way back in 1999, while he was finishing up a 15-year stint as artistic director of Theatre Projects Manitoba. McManus’s Three Sisters adaptation was completed on a commission from the Prairie Theatre Exchange.

As exciting as any of McManus’ inaugural productions may be, some mention must be made of the fact that the world premier has been entrusted to the virgin — though burgeoning — zone41. I am eager to see what this newfound hometown group can offer. It would be a mistake to miss observing that in the company’s very mandate is the vision of forming from “national caliber” talent “living or having roots in Winnipeg.”

It is only appropriate to top off the layered local connection of this production with reference to the play’s immigration to Canada. McManus takes Three Sisters from its original setting, in turn of the century Russia, and brings it home to roost. The tribulations of Chekhov’s characters take place in the air force base of 1959 Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan.

This production promises to be a prairie-rooted experience. For someone like me, having recently come to this province, it is a chance to absorb a moment in history and to check out what Manitoba has to offer on stage. For Manitobans through and through there should be pride in the knowledge that theatre lives and thrives here. Some, perhaps, will find nostalgia.

Three Sisters, from Anton Chekhov, adapted by Bruce McManus, runs from Oct. 6-16 in the Canwest Centre for Theatre and Film. For more information visit the Theatre Projects Manitoba website at