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Theatre To Showcase Chekhov's Tale Of Unrequited Love

Oct. 19, 2012
SHSU Media Contact: Kim Mathie

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The Sam Houston State University Department of Theatre and Musical Theatre will present “The Seagull,” Anton Chekhov’s touching and humorous classic tale of unrequited love, Wednesday (Oct. 31) through Saturday (Nov 3).

Seagull posterShow times for the play, translated by Marina Brodskaya, are at 8 p.m., with a 2 p.m. Saturday matinee, in the University Theatre Center's Showcase Theatre.

Filled with humor and heartbreak, “The Seagull” is a play about the very human tendency to reject love that is freely given and seek it where it is withheld.

The story focuses on a young aspiring playwright, Konstantin Treplev (Jonathan Teverbaugh), who desperately seeks the recognition of his famous actress mother, Irina Arkadina (Cheyenne James), and her lover Boris Trigorin (John Forgey), a renowned writer; yet both refuse to grant merit to Konstantin’s abilities.

To make matters worse, the young artist professes his love for the beautiful 19-year-old Nina (Amanda Parker), the daughter of a rich landowner, and is crushed when she refuses to return his sentiments, instead indulging in a romantic relationship with Trigorin.

The cast is completed by Melissa Molano, Tanner Stogsdill, Dakota Caraway, Robin Van Zandt, James Smith, Garrett Hayes Reeves, Sean Willard, Jo Jo Stafford and Rebecca Willett.

“It’s filled with yearning, longing to connect, to be appreciated and loved,” said theatre professor Maureen McIntyre, who directs. “The laughable thing is the way we go about it, so poorly and ineffectually. How awful to beg for love.”

When produced in 1898, “The Seagull” explored new dramatic forms. Chekhov called the play a comedy, but it was unlike anything that audiences had seen before.

“It was really quite revolutionary,” McIntryre said. “By our standards today it’s a tragi-comedy. There’s a lot of humor in it but definitely some terrible consequences.”

Chekhov also diverged from the high drama of the period, instead dramatizing the everyday circumstances like love, with characters experiencing major events off-stage, while presenting the event’s aftermath on-stage instead.

The play takes place on a country estate next to a lake during a time in Russia when the upper class is on the decline.

“It has an enchanted sense of place where you should be able to get rest and respite, but instead the characters feel trapped, like they’re in a box,” McIntyre said. “It’s a charming looking, but claustrophobic, environment.”

While the characters long to “be in Moscow” they either always return or don’t have a clue how to leave in the first place, according to McIntyre.

“They’re so trapped, but they find joy in, and they live in, the excitement of the little moments,” she said. “But it’s a real shock when those big moments happen.”

Despite being a period piece, McIntyre believes that today’s audiences will have no trouble relating to the characters or what they’re going through.

“This play is so much about what we all struggle with—love and connection,” she said. “Although they’re in period costumes, they could really be us.”

The production is designed by theatre faculty members Liz Freese (sets) and Eric March (sound), with music technical director Carrie Barton designing lights and theatre student Allison Forsyth designing the costumes.

Tickets are $10 for general admission.

For more information, call the University Theatre Center Box Office at 936.294.1339.

 

 

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