Going into The Seagull last night, I was full of trepidation. I am no scholar of Anton Chekhov; before seeing the show, I couldn’t tell you much about this playwright. Upon reading the Wikipedia synopsis, that fear grew. The names were all complicated, in Russian, and difficult to pronounce. The story itself is immensely complex, full of love triangles that intersect and meld with one another, forming new shapes entirely. A rhombus perhaps?
I soon discovered that the beauty of The Seagull lies in its subtle irony. Each character wants what another has. While one is seeking fame, another is running from his talent and recognition. Another wants to be rich and provide for his family. His counterpart disregards wealth as an afterthought. One seeks approval from his mother, another from an audience, another from an unrequited love. The dizzying webs these characters construct should be overwhelming, but they aren’t. Director Laura Rikard makes sense of it all.
Upon walking into the theater, I was immediately struck by the intimate atmosphere. The audience was so close to the stage, and the actors cajoled us, laughed in our faces, and made us uncomfortable in the best kind of way.