Kimberly Senior’s well-calibrated staging of Anton Chekhov’s exercise in diminishing returns balances the Prozorov sisters’ pointless sentiment against their frittering inanities, their earned despair against ineffectual self-pity. Playing the siblings, Kat McDonnell, Abigail Boucher, and Anita B. Deely seem to age before our eyes, so toxic is their cumulative disillusionment with love and work. By contrast Jennifer Avery as their predatory sister-in-law palpably feeds on their passivity and prospers. Curt Columbus’s crisp new translation makes it clear that the playwright has no patience with the paralysis of nostalgia, only infinite compassion for how easily life gets in our way until death finishes the job. Through 11/19: Fri-Sat 8 PM, Sun 7 PM. Strawdog Theatre Company, 3829 N. Broadway, 773-528-9696. $15-$20.