An isolated country estate in 1890’s Russia.
Ten people. Five love stories.
A comedy. A suicide.
For flights of passion, April in Paris has nothing over Russia
From Wikipedia: The
Seagull is the first of the four major plays by the Russian
dramatist Anton Chekhov. Written in 1895, it dramatises the
romantic and artistic conflicts between the ingenue Nina, the
fading actress Irina Arkadina, her son the symbolist playwright
Konstantin Treplyov, and the famous middlebrow story writer
Trigorin. As with all of Chekhov's full-length plays, The
Seagull relies upon an ensemble cast of diverse,
fully-developed characters. Characters tend to speak in ways
that skirt around issues rather than addressing them directly.
The opening night of the first
production was a famous failure. Chekhov left the audience and
spent the last two acts behind the scenes. When supporters wrote
to him that the production later became a success, he assumed
that they were merely trying to be kind. But a 1898 production
of The Seagull directed by Constantin Stanislavski became
"one of the greatest events in the history of Russian theatre
and one of the greatest developments in the history of world
Read more from Wikipedia article
From a New York Times review
of a 2008 production: Silence is never empty in The
Seagull. When a hush descends on Chekhov’s restless country
estate dwellers — as it often does, abrupt and unbidden — the
air remains alive with crosscurrents of thought, clashing chords
of longing and the steady thrum of time passing. The thwarted
souls of “The Seagull” are as self-revealing in frozen
speechlessness as they are in frantic flights of conversation.
As willfully idiosyncratic as
Chekhov’s characters are, they are all cut from the same nubbly
cloth of exasperated loneliness and misfired intentions.
Chekhov’s work sees the human condition as an exercise in
frustration that is both comic (“Ha! They can’t get what they
want”) and tragic (“Sob! They can never get what they
want”). And he works both sides of that equation more
successfully than any playwright.
Read more from New York
I love this play for its rich characters,
mischievously placed in a remote country estate, a perfect and
pleasantly uncomfortable setting that allowed Chekhov to
illuminate the heartbreaking ridiculousness of everyday human
Anton Chekhov wrote, “I can’t say I’m not enjoying writing [The
Seagull], though I’m flagrantly disregarding the basic tenets of
the stage. This comedy has four female roles, six male roles,
four acts, a landscape, much conversation about literature,
little action, and five tons of love.
In his tireless work as a country doctor in Russia from 1884 to
1904, Chekhov — who often treated his patients with no
expectation of payment—undoubtedly witnessed unimaginable
suffering, ignorance, and sadness — the full spectrum of the
human dilemma. I am amazed by his transmuting of these
experiences into beauty, love, and redemption. A friend
described Chekhov thus: “It was as if he emanated waves of
warmth and protection.” I believe Chekhov’s art reflects not the
Renaissance ideal of beauty, but the true and flawed beauty that
we glimpse in each other’s eyes. Scholars agree that, The
Seagull’s themes are Love and Art.
In the end, though, I don’t care about scholars’ thoughts as
much as I care about yours, the audience. So, if you have
opinions about The Seagull after seeing our performance, please
share them — preferably with someone who won’t agree with you.
“An author should be humane to the tips of his fingers.”
– Anton Chekhov
“My holy of holies is the human body, health, intelligence,
talent, inspiration, love,
and the most absolute freedom imaginable — freedom from
violence and lies
no matter what form they take.”
– Anton Chekhov