TACOMA, Wash. – In Anton Chekhov’s famous play, The Sea Gull, a self-doubting Russian playwright shoots a seagull and presents it to the young woman he loves, saying that, soon, he will do the same to himself.
This pathos of unrequited love, denied hopes, and lost opportunities is vintage Chekhov; a hallmark of the highly celebrated Russian storyteller who has fascinated and moved audiences for more than 100 years.
University of Puget Sound theatre arts students will perform The Sea Gull (English version, translated by Jean-Claude van Itallie), under the direction of Professor Geoffrey Proehl, at Norton Clapp Theatre in Jones Hall on campus. Performances will be staged at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 27; Saturday, Oct. 28; Thursday, Nov. 2; Friday, Nov. 3; and Saturday, Nov. 4. There will be a 2 p.m. performance on Saturday, Nov. 4. Ticket information and a map of campus are below.
“I first directed this play at Puget Sound about twenty years ago with a wonderful cast and crew,” said Proehl. “It made a deep impression on all of us. Few plays speak more honestly and more compassionately about the shortness of life and the challenges of living with an open heart.”
Scenic designer for The Sea Gull is Kurt Walls; lighting design is by Richard Moore; and the costume designer is Mishka Navarre. The Department of Theatre Arts involves theatre arts students in roles on stage and off.
The Sea Gull is set in a Russian estate and begins just before the performance of a new play by Konstantin Treplev, who longs to be part of the elite world of the Russian intelligentsia that his mother, a famous actress, enjoys. However his play only attracts derision from his mother, and Konstantin is humiliated. Thereafter, we learn that Konstantin’s desire for young Nina is just one of many frustrated romances unfolding at the lakeside estate.
Chekhov’s comedy-tragedies were groundbreaking for his time. They made small everyday events, such as love and yearning, and jealousy and ridicule, into bittersweet drama. Before his time the Russian theater delivered breathtaking stories of grand heroes and heroines.
Chekhov’s characters are complex individuals who often mean more than they actually say, and the play as a whole trawls so deeply into the human psyche, it gives the audience free rein to make their own interpretation of events as the story comes to a tragic, yet oddly capricious, end.
FOR TICKETS: Tickets are available online at tickets.pugetsound.edu, or at Wheelock Information Center, 253.879.3100. Admission is $11 for the general public; $7 for seniors (55+), students, military, and Puget Sound faculty, students, and staff. Any remaining tickets will be available at the door.
Press photos of the dress rehearsal will be available shortly before the first performance.
Photos on page: From top: Costume sketch of Nina; Boris Trigorin; Chekhov reading from The Sea Gull to the Moscow Art Theatre ensemble (1899; public domain).
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