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The Seagull ****** Nevada Conservatory Theatre 5 February 2012 One of Anton Chekhov’s four major plays, “The Seagull” certainly is what one would consider a serious piece of theatre. Nobody can really question the artistic value of this highly acclaimed drama, but that being said it should definitely be pointed out that the works of Russian dramatists (or even classic writers such as Leo Tolstoy or Fyodor Dostoyevsky) possess a very specific aura and will not necessarily please everybody. Although this particular play does include some elements of comedy, its whole message is rather dark and depressing, and even though the characters communicate mostly through subtext and allusions, it still does not leave much doubt as to the author’s intention to unveil the selfishness and sheer cruelty of some individuals and his strong opinions about the truth concerning the human nature. The plot itself does not dazzle with originality: the major four personas on the stage are a famous, albeit aging actress (Arkadina), her oversensitive and somewhat hapless son Konstantin, Arkadina’s lover Trigorin, a morally loose famous writer and Nina, a young woman from the neighboring estate and Konstantin’s love interest. The dynamics between those characters build the whole dramatic tension in the play and we witness a tale we have seen, in one form or another, a million times before. It is namely the story about an innocent girl leaving her equally inexperienced sweetheart for a worldly, decadent man, who seduces her and then discards her as soon as he gets bored with the arrangement, all that without a second thought or regret. And that of a mother so egotistic and so threatened by anything that could undermine her image that she is willing to protect her position at any cost, even if it means   destroying her own son in the process. That being said, one must keep in mind that Chekhov’s masterful skills still make it a work of the highest caliber and one that will keep the audience drawn in, even if only to appreciate the subtle indirectness with which the characters communicate with each other and the refined use of language. Central to the story is the Seagull, which possesses a symbolic function representing the fate of Nina, who, just like the bird killed by Konstantin for no apparent reason, ends up the victim of a man using her to satisfy his own desires, someone who destroys other creatures for his own amusement. Also Arkadina would certainly not win any “Mother of the Year” Awards as she constantly humiliates her son and her treatment of him is driven by pettiness and jealousy. Both her and Trigorin are solely interested in whatever suits them at the moment and have no care or consideration even for the people that are supposed to be closest to them… The Nevada Conservatory Theatre production of this drama directed by Michael Lugering fulfilled one’s expectations regarding such an outstanding play, meaning it conveyed just the right amount of pathos on one side, and a certain detachment on the other. Chekhov’s protagonists are very emotional, yet focused only on themselves to the point of being almost ridiculously vain. The actors portrayed their respective characters very well, especially the four major ones (Rayme Cornell as Arkadina, John Maltese as Konstantin, Analisa Kimball as Nina and Brian Vaughn as Trigorin) have impressed with their skills. Analisa Kimball identified herself with Nina to such an extent that she was crying real tears, positively sobbing in her showcase scene towards the end of the last act. Her grief and despair were really touching and absolutely convincing. Also the Scenic Design (Devin Pierce Scheef) and costumes (Maria Radeva-Nedyalkova) beautifully harmonized with the style of the performance. So if you do not shy away from the somewhat more demanding theatrical works, “The Seagull” would certainly be one of those classic pieces that should find its place on your bucket list.

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The Seagull ****** Nevada Conservatory Theatre 5 February 2012 One of Anton Chekhov’s four major plays, “The Seagull” certainly is what one would consider a serious piece of theatre. Nobody can really question the artistic value of this highly acclaimed drama, but that being said it should definitely be pointed out that the works of Russian dramatists (or even classic writers such as Leo Tolstoy or Fyodor Dostoyevsky) possess a very specific aura and will not necessarily please everybody. Although this particular play does include some elements of comedy, its whole message is rather dark and depressing, and even though the characters communicate mostly through subtext and allusions, it still does not leave much doubt as to the author’s intention to unveil the selfishness and sheer cruelty of some individuals and his strong opinions about the truth concerning the human nature. The plot itself does not dazzle with originality: the major four personas on the stage are a famous, albeit aging actress (Arkadina), her oversensitive and somewhat hapless son Konstantin, Arkadina’s lover Trigorin, a morally loose famous writer and Nina, a young woman from the neighboring estate and Konstantin’s love interest. The dynamics between those characters build the whole dramatic tension in the play and we witness a tale we have seen, in one form or another, a million times before. It is namely the story about an innocent girl leaving her equally inexperienced sweetheart for a worldly, decadent man, who seduces her and then discards her as soon as he gets bored with the arrangement, all that without a second thought or regret. And that of a mother so egotistic and so threatened by anything that could undermine her image that she is willing to protect her position at any cost, even if it means   destroying her own son in the process. That being said, one must keep in mind that Chekhov’s masterful skills still make it a work of the highest caliber and one that will keep the audience drawn in, even if only to appreciate the subtle indirectness with which the characters communicate with each other and the refined use of language. Central to the story is the Seagull, which possesses a symbolic function representing the fate of Nina, who, just like the bird killed by Konstantin for no apparent reason, ends up the victim of a man using her to satisfy his own desires, someone who destroys other creatures for his own amusement. Also Arkadina would certainly not win any “Mother of the Year” Awards as she constantly humiliates her son and her treatment of him is driven by pettiness and jealousy. Both her and Trigorin are solely interested in whatever suits them at the moment and have no care or consideration even for the people that are supposed to be closest to them… The Nevada Conservatory Theatre production of this drama directed by Michael Lugering fulfilled one’s expectations regarding such an outstanding play, meaning it conveyed just the right amount of pathos on one side, and a certain detachment on the other. Chekhov’s protagonists are very emotional, yet focused only on themselves to the point of being almost ridiculously vain. The actors portrayed their respective characters very well, especially the four major ones (Rayme Cornell as Arkadina, John Maltese as Konstantin, Analisa Kimball as Nina and Brian Vaughn as Trigorin) have impressed with their skills. Analisa Kimball identified herself with Nina to such an extent that she was crying real tears, positively sobbing in her showcase scene towards the end of the last act. Her grief and despair were really touching and absolutely convincing. Also the Scenic Design (Devin Pierce Scheef) and costumes (Maria Radeva- Nedyalkova) beautifully harmonized with the style of the performance. So if you do not shy away from the somewhat more demanding theatrical works, “The Seagull” would certainly be one of those classic pieces that should find its place on your bucket list.
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