The Show

A Russian comedy in Russian

 

Chekhov considered "The Seagull" play as a comedy, and this theatrical production respects the author's opinion and interprets the play as a comedy. Similarly, all (or vast majority) of directorial decisions are grounded in the text - either based on information from the text of the play itself or based on information from secondary sources.

The performance is not only in Russian - the original language of the play, but uses the early modern Russian language that Chekhov himself used to speak and write (which was abolished by the language reforms at the beginning of the 20th century). The use of the original text reproduces the sounds, melody and poetics of the spoken Russian language that Chekhov heard in his imagination while writing his plays.

 

Live Russian music

 

In order to immerse the audience into the atmosphere of a Chekhovian estate of 1896, the production actively utilizes Russian music of that time period: songs, romances, and musical compositions by Pyotr Tchaikovsky.

 

Symbolism of the show

 

"Ч" (pronounced as "ch" or "tch") - is a letter of Russian alphabet, which is the first letter of the key terms of the production:

  • Chekhov
  • Chaika (the Russian word for "(sea)gull", spelled in Roman letters)
  • Tchaikovsky (the last name of both the composer P.I. Tchaikovsky and the actor who performs the role of Treplev)

"4" (four) - the number, the name for which also starts with the letter "ch" in Russian:

  • four acts
  • four seasons (for each of the acts)
  • four characters, whose lives intertwine the most

 

Recommended bibliographical references

 

The easiest way to become familiar with the life in Russia at the end of 19th century is from Russian literature (i.e., the two works by Ivan Turgenev mentioned below). The list consists of works directly referenced in the play, and which are also the key to understanding characters, their relationships, the play itself, and our production:

  • Alexandre Dumas (son). "La Dame aux Camélias" (The Lady with the Camellias/Camille).
  • Guy de Maupassant. "Sur l'Eau" (On the Water).
  • William Shakespeare. "The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark".
  • Ivan Turgenev. "Fathers and Sons".
  • Ivan Turgenev. "Rudin".