Act One (37:14)
Act one begins with Olga, the eldest sister, working as a teacher in a school. Masha, the middle sister and the artist of the family is married to Feodor Ilyich Kulygin, a schoolteacher. At the time of their marriage, Masha, younger than he, was enchanted by what she took to be wisdom, but seven years later, she sees through his pedantry and his clownish attempts to compensate for the emptiness between them. Irina, the youngest sister, is still full of expectation. She speaks of her dream of going to Moscow and meeting her true love. It was in Moscow that the sisters grew up, and they all long to return to the sophistication and happiness of that time. Andrei is the only boy in the family and the sisters idolize him. He is in love with Natalia Ivanovna (Natasha). At the very close of the act, Andrei exultantly confesses his feelings to Natasha in private and fatefully asks her to marry him.
Act Two (49:31)
Act two begins almost a year later with Andrei and Natasha married with their first child , a baby boy named Bobik. Natasha is having an affair with Protopopov, Andrei's superior. Masha comes home flushed from a night out, and it is clear that she and her companion, Lieutenant-Colonel Vershinin, are giddy with the secret of their mutual love for one another. Natasha manipulatively quashes the plans for a party in the home. Tuzenbach and Solyony both declare their love for Irina.
Act Three (39:35)
Act three takes place about a year later in Olga and Irina's room. There has been a fire in the town, and, in the crisis, people are passing in and out of the room, carrying blankets and clothes to give aid. Olga, Masha and Irina are angry with their brother, Andrei, for mortgaging their home, keeping the money to pay off his gambling debts and conceding all his power to his wife. Masha, alone with her sisters, confides in them her romance with Vershinin. Irina despairs at the common turn her life has taken. Irina decides to accept Tuzenbach's offer of marriage even though she does not love him. Chebutykin drunkenly stumbles and smashes a clock which had belonged to the Prozorov siblings' late mother, whom he loved. Andrei acknowledges his own awareness of life's folly and his disappointment in Natasha, and begs his sisters' forgiveness for everything.
Act Four (36:50)
In the fourth and final act, outdoors behind the home, the soldiers are preparing to leave the area. Solyony has challenged the Baron Tuzenbach to a duel, but Tuzenbach is intent on hiding it from Irina. Just as the soldiers are leaving, a shot is heard, and Tuzenbach's death in the duel is announced. Masha has to be pulled from Vershinin's arms, but her husband accepts her back. Olga has reluctantly accepted the position of permanent headmistress of the school where she teaches and is moving out. She is taking Anfisa with her, thus rescuing the elderly woman from Natasha.
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