(Antaeus Theater Company) An intimate stage, a company of seasoned players, and humorous Russian tragedy. Such are the makings of an eventful evening. The Antaeus Company’s presentation of The Seagull takes theatre back to basics, opting for a stark stage and few set changes -- a decision allowing the audience to lend their full concentration to the players on stage. This straightforward style works particularly well for Chekhov, whose plays deal with character change and subtext rather than action, and whose work, in conjunction with the great Constantin Stanislavski, revolutionized a naturalistic approach for actors to take while working with the text of a play.
The Seagull centers on a country estate, where the famous actress, Arkadina (Laura Wernette), has come with her lover -- the famous novelist Trigorin (Bo Foxworth) -- to vacation away from city life. Arkadina’s son, Konstantin, lives on the estate, and the show opens with news that Konstantin will be showing his friends and family his new play -- an experimental play that stars the object of his affection, Nina (Abby Wilde). Sadly, Nina does not feel the same for Konstantin, nor does she understand or enjoy the new forms of theatre he is trying to create. And while Konstantin is focused solely on Nina, the daughter of the estate owner, Masha (Joanna Strapp), is hopelessly in love with him -- a feeling Konstantin does not share in the slightest. Finally, the local schoolteacher, Medvedenko (Bill Brochtup), is completely devoted to Masha, who proves, time and again, her lack of any interest in him. Other characters of note include Dorn (Kurtwood Smith) -- the world-wearied but wise doctor -- and Sorin (Michael McShane) -- Arkadina’s ailing brother who feels his life has been wasted and longs for a change of course as the end draws near.
Andrew Traister’s production of The Seagull has two casts, as well as several performances where the casts will be mixed.
The show plays at the Deaf West Theatre through April 15, 2012, with performances Thursday-Saturday at 8:00 p.m. and Sunday at 2:00 p.m.