The Revolutionary Case of The Seagull

by:  Sebastián Bravo Montenegro at 02/26/2014

When the first production of The Seagull premiered at the Alexandrinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg in 1896, it was an unqualified disaster. So much so that Chekhov wrote to his publisher telling him: "Stop the printing of the plays. I shall never forget yesterday evening. I am not going to produce the play in Moscow. I shall never either write plays or have them acted."

The performance was part of a benefit for Elizaveta Levkeeva who, Chekhov translator Laurence Senelick writes, "was a comedienne who specialized in outspoken old maids and dowagers." The audience, Senelick continues, composed mainly of "rowdy workers, about ten literary figures, and a dozen Chekhov fans," was expecting a farce. When they did not get one, they booed and laughed through every moment of the night.

The Seagull closed after just five performances, but its absence was short-lived. Just two years later, it enjoyed a second premiere at the Moscow Art Theatre, where, under the leadership of founders Konstantin Stanislavsky and Vladimir Nemirovich- Dachenko, the play became an enormous success and cemented Chekhov as one of the eminent Russian playwrights of his time. How did a play that, according to Senelick, "garnered no applause at the end" become one of the most important literary works of the 20th century?

Russian theatre was undergoing a reform at the time. In 1882, the monopoly on theatre held by the Russian government had ended, and citizens were now allowed to create private theatres, but change was slow. Chekhov resented that the audience had come to expect a conventional repertory which, according to Stanislavsky’s biographer Jean Benedetti, was, "nothing except melodramas, musical comedies, and farces, adapted or imitated from the French stage." Chekhov wanted to steer the theatrical style away from shallow and over-emphatic acting but couldn’t at the traditional government-operated Alexandrinsky Theatre. Due to the complexity of its characters and the fact that it was a new play, The Seagull required thorough exploration from its performers, but Benedetti states that the first production only had "eight rehearsals held on stage, the first two took place without most of the leads," and "no one was cast as Nina until the 3rd rehearsal."

Two years later, at the privately-owned Moscow Art Theatre, the "rehearsal period would be spread across 24 sessions and last for 80 hours in total," a figure never before seen in the Russian theatre according to Benedetti. Like Chekhov, Stanislavsky and Nemirovich-Danchenko strived to make theatre that "rebelled against the old way of acting, against affectation and false pathos, against declamation and bohemian exaggeration, against bad conventionality of production and sets, against the star system which ruined the ensemble, and against the whole spirit of performance and the insignificance of the repertory."

Both directors worked hard in giving new dignity to the art. They created sober and elegant surroundings, refused to admit patrons after the curtain was raised, and created a feeling of ensemble among the actors by instructing them to bow only after the last act. This unique atmosphere benefited Chekhov’s play. While The Seagull’s first audience — familiar with Chekhov’s farces — expected an over- the-top presentation, the second was attending, not to eat and cheer loudly, but instead to appreciate art.

The Seagull went on to become a box office success and part of the national repertoire even through Soviet Russia, but the play remains as perplexing and elusive to artists and audiences as it did to Stanislavsky and Nemirovich- Danchenko in 1898. Is it a tragedy or a comedy? Does the play lean towards a symbolic, naturalistic, or widely experimental style? Or is it, like its characters, contradictory in nature? These are the questions that persist today because The Seagull calls to be not only performed but interpreted. Russian literary historian Marc Slonim expresses that The Seagullcontinue to attract actors, directors, and audiences because, "Chekhov spoke of those who do not succeed in the battle for survival and do not belong to the minority of victors and conquerors — and he knew how to make the hearts of his audience vibrate with the pain of self-identification and the comfort of kindliness and pity."

Comments

  1. Some persons voice that GrabMyPaper.com is a excellent composition utility that specializes on essays that acquire a scarce deadline. Is this proper? I merit your tenet further would hardly like to provide my dissertation moreover hardly procure it interior the stipulated tempo structure.
  2. Zhang Xiaoyu stated, hublot replica this gathered several years associated with clients as well as numerous actions to get at understand brand new buddies can also be the item in our asked chanel replica people who as soon as took part within occasions kept from wrist watches individual may suggest omega replica to go to. ” Nevertheless, aside from this stuff, have the ability to chanel replica the visit much more crucial towards the achievement, or even ought to be shown within the focus on client's invite, arranging, location providers, and thus these records problems. Within every exhibit, comprehensive home elevators those activities normally believe it or not. Nevertheless, wrist watches presently there cartier replica is actually much more unique.
  3. i would get the:1) 70's cornflower blue erirobdemed collar blouse (so beautiful!)2) 50's palest sheer blue pintuck blouse with diamond appliqueand 3) 50's pearly gray petite handbagall very summery, but i'd get to wear them because winter in South Africa is turning out to be a bit of a joke!thanks for sharing..what an amazing shop.
  4. Your thkniing matches mine - great minds think alike!
  5. Iam absolutely in love with the vtigane piece they have! Especially the bags and jewelry. I cant seem to find any rare and gorgeous pieces like that in here in South Africa! I would definately use the voucher to getvintage pieces like the shoulder bags and rings. http://bvkglw.com [url=http://znbzseg.com]znbzseg[/url] [link=http://eeaufvy.com]eeaufvy[/link]
  6. and the people's satisfaction political and legal team. To effectively strengthen ideological education of police officers Louis Vuitton Sale and http://www.katespadeoutletst.com men, gucci bags guide christian louboutin shoes the http://www.usalouisvuittonoutlet-store.com majority Christian Louboutin Outlet Store of kate spade outlet online police barbour.com officers http://www.newbalance-factory-outlet.com and http://www.cheaplvbags-top.net men Louis Vuitton Handbags outlet to Louis Vuitton Purses correctly new Louis Vuitton understand Louis vuitton outlet and Michael Kors outlet store firmly http://www.louisvuitton-bags-2015.com support cheap nike shoes the gucci outlet central christian louboutin online government http://www.cheaplouisvuitton-bagso.net decided Louis Vuitton to http://www.michaelkorsoutletonlinestoresale.us.com strictly kate spade bags abide http://www.louisvuitton-sunglassess.com by gucci handbags the Michael Kors outlet online sale Party's http://www.louisvuittonoutletsyear.com political new balance outlet discipline, louis vuitton outlet 2015 organization kate spade online sale and http://www.louisvuittonstore2013.com discipline Michael Kors Purses to http://www.shopkatespadebags.com ensure chanel bags that Michael Kors outlet store critical Kate Spade Outlet moment http://www.katespadeoutletst.com reliable, http://www.louisvuittonoutlet-2015.com trustworthy, High Heel Shoes can barbour outlet rest Kate Spade Bags assured. Kate Spade Handbags To Nike LunarEclipse adhere gucci purses to Christian Louboutin online store the kate spade new york principles http://www.2014guccioutletonline.com and Nike Shoes On Sale fulfill gucci handbag "A http://www.michaelkorsoutlets-mk.com Pair cheap nba jerseys of louis vuitton handbags responsibility", Moncler Outlet Yan Louis Vuitton Outlet Handbags Lured, louis vuitton outlet the Louis Vuitton wallets courage kate spade to Louis Vuitton Outlet Stores pipe nike free run the Cheap Moncler Jackets initiative gucci outlet online as, Louis Vuitton purses dare Louis Vuitton Purses to High Heel Shoes play, Louis Vuitton Outlet online to Louis Vuitton Outlet have Kate Spade New York mistakes, LV outlet shortcomings Louis Vuitton comrades http://www.guccioutletpurse.com early prada outlet online reminder, Louis Vuitton Bags early michael kors bags correction; michael kors satchel bags outlets against Louis Vuitton unhealthy http://www.cheaplvbags-top.net practices, free run 2 and louis vuitton bags resolutely http://www.michaelkorshandbags-2014.com resist new balance factory outlet never louis vuitton outlet 2015 left louboutin outlet u
    Cheap Louis Vuitton Bags />etimes michael kors outlet online store sale us four christian louboutin shoes or Louis Vuitton Sunglasses five Louis Vuitton tablespoons christian louboutin outlet online of christian louboutin outlet red Louis Vuitton Outlet Sometimes Louis Vuitton Outlet Store red Louis Vuitton Outlet stores seventy-eight LV Purses spoon. Louis Vuitton Outlet Online She http://www.cheaplouisvuitton-bagso.net was prada outlet not michael kors outlet imagine new balance how Christian Louboutin Shoes Outlet these chanel factory outlet store children Louis vuitton outlet can http://www.louisvuittonoutletyears.com gain nba jerseys online sale weight new balance outlet online I nike free run thought chanel outlet online milk, cheap louis vuitton bags turned louis vuitton wallets out prada online outlet to Nike LunarGlipse be nba jerseys "milk."Zhou Christian Louboutin shoes online Jie kate spade new york was louis vuitton store 2015 a Louis Vuitton Outlet year louis vuitton handbags old, Michael Kors store occasional new balance sale mild http://www.louisvuittonsunglassess.net stomach pain, Moncler Coats my grandparents did not realize the problem, is to help her knead about pain relief. After Louis Vuitton Handbags outlet seeing http://www.louisvuitton-bags-2014.com television, Michael Kors Purses newspapers http://www.katespadestoreonline.com overwhelming http://www.thebagsstyle.com about kate spade store online Sanlu new balance factory store milk barbour jackets powder LV Bags containing cheap louis vuitton bags melamine http://www.shopmoncleroutlet.com tainted http://www.louisvuitton-lv.us.com milk Louis Vuitton news, http://www.christianlouboutinoutletwow.com grandparents http://www.louisvuittonchristmas.cc with Moncler Outlet Ms High Heels Chow louis vuitton handbags quickly Michael Kors Outlet Handbags the Cheap Moncler Jackets next katespade.com day louis vuitton to Nike Outlet Online the nike free run 2 hospital."Renal Louis Vuitton Sale water, cheap new balance 0.5 louis vuitton stores cm http://www.guccibags-handbags.org left Michael Kors Outlet Handbags kidney new balance shoes stones http://www.usalouisvuittonoutlet-stores.com around." cheap michael kors handbags Zhou Michael Kors Outlet Jie Louis Vuitton outlet is Louis Vuitton Bags 2015 the Louis Vuitton Store first Louis Vuitton bags time Christian Louboutin Shoes the http://www.themercyseller.com body http://www.louisvuittonoutletsyear.com to Moncler Outlet Online detect louis vuitton handbags stones. michael kors shoulder bags Water Cheap Louis Vuitton Bags Phoenix Cheap Louis Vuitton also Louis Vuitton Outlet Online ended Louis Vuitton Outlet Online migrant kate spade outlet workers, LV outlet retur
    Moncler Outlet Store /> http://www.shopmoncleroutlet.com related links: [yanjing0128]
  7. xnxmdh payday loans >:]] payday loans GBRCX fast payday loans mDtkh payday loans FPcUbz payday loans 8063 payday loans 6861
  8. legal requirement cheap auto insurance only takes citrate viagra sales more instant erection cheap viagra premature ejaculation would think california car insurance quotes would think
  9. trucks auto insurance money than
  10. world who online cialis no prescription form should stop impotence generic version regular erectile online cialis dysfunctions stilton buy cialas on line condition actually buy propecia online line where

Post a Comment

       
User verification Image for user verification  

About me

Lisa Timmel,  Bevin O'Gara, and Charles Haugland share their thoughts on New Plays, Dramatury, and their experience sharing nightly conversations with the audiences that come to see our shows. Get the inside scoop of new scripts and play development!

 
 

RSS Feed

Subscribe to RSS Feed

Archive

Tag cloud


Avenue of the Arts / BU Theatre: 264 Huntington Avenue, Boston MA 02115
South End / Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA: 527 Tremont Street, Boston MA 02116
Main: 264 Huntington Avenue, Boston MA 02115 | 617 266 7900 | BOX OFFICE 617 266 0800

© 2013 Huntington Theatre Company. All rights reserved | Trouble viewing this site? Please download Mozilla Firefox or Google Chrome.