Geoff Bangs, a Theatre Major who will be playing the role of Doalty, had these observations about the play in comparison to one of Chekhov's major plays, and said I could share them:
"Hey, im reading 'The Three Sisters' by Chekhov right now. If you haven't read it and you have some time i suggest you check it out. I think there are quite a few similarities to Translations. I thought the repeated speaking in Latin, the out of towner that comes in and falls in love with the lead female who in turn falls in love with him, and the fire in Act 3. Also there may be ties with all of their glorifications of Moscow to characters’ in Translations desire to get out and see the world, and the fact that Andrei is a insecure proffessor with an unstable emotional relationship. I haven’t read Act 4 yet. I will do that tomorrow morning and let you know if I have seen any others. But right now I’m seeing so many connections that I believe it could have easily been a source of inspiration to Friel when he wrote the show. Maybe Maire, Sarah, and Bridget are the three sisters!! :D
[about 12 hours pass] I just finished the show, I forgot to point out that along with the many familiarities between Vershinin and Yolland they are both also high ranked people in the army. I discovered they are speaking French not Latin in Three Sisters. Also the Baron was murdered in the end which could relate to what supposedly happened with Yolland. One thing that became very clear was that in both plays the characters spoke frequently of wanting to escape the place they live and the value that knowledge can have in their life and some of their desires to expand their knowledge.
I am attempting to make a connection with the motifs. At the end of Three Sisters Chebutykin says 'What does anything matter, anyways?' which has a different way of expressing itself in Translations because of the different characters and cultures but i did get a sense of 'lets get drunk, history repeats itself, what does all this drama really amount to in the end' kind of vibe from Hugh at the end."
Thanks, Geoff! Very perceptive! Friel is often compared to Chekhov, glad you can see it so well.