Local Theater Review: Chekov’s The Seagull

Written for local news web site The Dagger:

Chekov’s play, a drawing-room tragedy about a group of actors, writers, and other intellectuals taking a break at a lake house, bristles with all the frustrations of the artistic temperament. The characters denounce, declaim, and threaten to decamp, yet somehow find themselves again in each other’s company at the curtain’s fall. This may not jump out as the first choice for an evening’s entertainment in a holiday season of splendid spectacles like The Nutcracker. Indeed, the average theater patron may consider a play about authors and actors sufficiently self-referential to disappear up its own navel. However, the real drama is less about books and theater than about envy, ambition, love, fear, and regret. Chekov is not subtle: rather, like Eugene O’Neill, he cuts right to the heart. In this time of year, when the world is cold and dark and our hearts are restless and tired, such honesty can be as satisfying as any Christmas pageant.

Of course, after today’s events, Chekov seems both more and less relevant.


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