The School of Performing Arts presents its second Mainstage Theatre production of the season, "Three Sisters" by Anton Chekhov, in Squires Studio Theatre Nov. 12-15 at 7:30 p.m., Nov. 17 at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m., and Nov. 18-20 at 7:30 p.m.

David Johnson directs the 20th century play about three aristocratic sisters, Olga, Masha, and Irina, who live in provincial Russia under the tyranny of their sister-in-law, Natasha. The three sisters long to return to Moscow but spend their time socializing with the town’s soldiers and philosophizing about life and the world around them. The play explores themes of the evanescence of time, mischances of love, and hilarity of despair.

Considered one of the best short story writers in history, Chekhov incorporated subtle, poignant moments in his writing and believed an artist’s purpose was to ask questions, not answer them. “This is the third Chekhov play I’ve directed here," said Johnson. "He is my favorite playwright and the most challenging I’ve encountered. Along with the original director of his plays, Konstantin Stanislavsky, Chekhov created the modern acting style practiced, or attempted, everywhere today.”

Regarding his adaptation of the production, Johnson hints, “Russia now includes a large area and is more multicultural. This is represented in the casting, the music, the setting, and the costumes which will have some elements of the Islamic cultures found in contemporary Russia.” The play will include live Russian and Middle Eastern music, adding another interesting dimension to the story.

Johnson is a faculty member in the School of Performing Arts at Virginia Tech and has directed Chekhov’s "The Cherry Orchard" and "The Seagull" in addition to "Relatively Speaking" last spring. He teaches dramatic literature, theatre history, and acting.

Tickets are $10 general, $8 senior and student, and may be purchased at the Student Centers and Activities Ticket Office on the first floor of Squires Student Center, or by calling 540-231-5615. Tickets will also be available at the box office beginning one hour prior to the performance. Discounted seats are available with the purchase of 5 or more tickets to any combination of performances in the School of Performing Arts 2013-14 season. The season includes the Visiting Artist Series, Ensemble Performance Series, and Mainstage Theatre productions. Remaining performances in the Mainstage Theatre Series include "Three Days of Rain" by Richard Greenberg Feb. 25-Mar. 5; and "Spring Awakening" April 13-27. 

Squires Theatre is located in the Squires Student Center at 290 College Ave. on the campus of Virginia Tech. Free parking is available on weekends and after 5 p.m. weekdays in the Squires Lot, located at the corner of College Avenue and Otey Streets, in the Architecture Annex Lot on Otey Street, and the Perry Street/Prices Fork lots. Find more parking information online or call 540-231-3200. Alternative parking is available in the Kent Squire parking garage and the Farmers Market metered parking lot, both located on Draper Road. Additional downtown Blacksburg parking information can be found online.