One of the first lines uttered in the play is by Masha who is in love with Konstantin. She is asked why she always wears black. She replies (delivered beautifully by Kelly Hutchinson), “I am in mourning for my life.” No other line could set in motion this play better.
Masha is mourning for her life
All of these characters are in mourning for their lives, yet Masha is the only character to realize it. All of the characters live their lives like her, but are in denial that their lives are like that. Konstantin is desperately seeking love from his mother. Nina wants fame and attention, thinking it will right everything in her life. Trigorin, who is a popular writer, is terribly disappointed in himself and wants to be known as more than just “not as good as Tolstoy.” They live their lives like a melodrama. Each small problem of life is the end of the world for them, and sends them closer and closer to the edge of the cliff, until finally one of them jumps. In the end the play sees a loss of innocence as life goes by for the characters, and very few are left untouched. Nina is the Seagull. Konstantin shoots a seagull and gives it to Nina as a token of his love for her. Later she says to him, “Do you remember, you shot a seagull? A man comes by chance, sees it, and out of nothing else to do, destroys it.” Nina is left destroyed after her affair with Trigorin. No longer is she the young innocent looking for love and fame in the world.
Michael Barakiva’s adaptation of the Roundtable’s production of The Seagull fuses together the tragedies of life and the comedy found in everyday moments. The two often have an uneasy co-existence, but here they play off one another quite nicely.
There are a few standouts in an overall talented cast. Kelly Hutchinson excels as the secondary character Masha. The character’s depression, sadness, and “mourning” were shown gracefully. David Barlow’s Konstantin all at once was depressing, hopeful, and sad. His final moment when he is resigned to his fate and tears up his writing was heartbreaking. The awkward Oedipus moments between Konstantin and Arkadina were nicely done. I truly felt sympathy for Garrett Neergaard’s Medvedenko every time he was ignored or pushed aside.
The Seagull took a little while to get going, but when it does it is brilliant and riveting. It is a lovely piece of theater.
The Seagull is playing now at The Blue Heron Arts Center. Visit our database here for reservations.