Thursday, October 22, 2015

Review of Eclectic Full Contact Theatre's The Seagull

Once upon a time I went to a show and it was called The Seagull. It was by Anton Chekhov and this new version was by Christopher Hampton based on a literal translation by Vera Liber. It was directed by Jaclynn Jutting. It was about this young writer named Konstantin (Nick Hyland) and he was in love with a woman named Nina (Brookelyn H├ębert) and Nina wants to be free and happy, but her father won't let her. Konstatin wants people to like his show and for them to see this new idea of theater. His mom Arkadina (Kelly Lynn Hogan) is an actress and thinks theater is just fine the way it is. And Trigorin (Michael Woods) is Arkadina's boyfriend and Nina really likes his novels and falls in love with him. And Masha (Jessica Kingsdale) was a very depressed woman because she was in love with Konstantin but he was in love with Nina. And she gets kind of won over by Medvedenko (David Weiss) who loves her, but she is not completely won over because she is still in love with Konstantin. It is about love, not being able to get what you want, and mistakes. The acting was so great--expressive and realistic--and that made me feel so close to all the characters. I thought is was funny a lot of the time, but not all the time. Sometimes it was super super sad. That's the way it is with Chekhov. In my 11 years of life I have seen a lot of Chekhov: The Cherry Orchard (twice) Uncle Vanya, Three Sisters (twice) and a movie of The Seagull and Stupid F##king Bird. Just like all kids, you know.

Nina had a lot of problems because her father didn't want her to be free and happy and she is in a love triangle with Konstantin and Trigorin and also with Trigorin and Arkadina. She was in love with Konstantin first, but she has fallen in love with Trigorin instead because he probably seems more exciting and he is famous and she thinks that he would never hurt her. She thinks Konstantin might hurt her because he has killed a seagull to show how mad he is at her. Which I can understand is pretty scary, but I don't think he would have hurt her the way that Trigorin did. Trigorin doesn't just take Nina from Konstatin, he also takes Konstantin's mom and his ideas for using the seagull as a symbol for a broken person. But you don't hate him completely because you think that he just might be a not very healthy person. He feels like all he needs is power over somebody and Nina is better for that than Arkadina because she is younger and doesn't have a whole huge acting career. And Nina looks up to him because he is such a famous writer. He has doubts about his writing it seems, and having power over someone makes him feel better about himself.

Everyone in the show makes pretty bad decisions a lot of the time and jumps to conclusions, and that is why at the end, no one is really happy. Sorin (David Elliot) is not happy at the end because he is sick but he seems happier at the beginning. He regrets not having a family or becoming a writer. At the beginning he regrets that too but he is healthier so he is slightly more happy. Masha is not happy because the person that she loves doesn't love her in return and the person she doesn't like, Medvedenko, likes her. She has beginning-of-life regrets. You know that she is unhappy because she says that she is unhappy. She says that a lot, that she is unhappy. She is very deadpan, though, and not crying and pathetic, so that makes you feel more sorry for her because she is not annoying. The doctor (Andrew J. Pond) seemed pretty happy all the time, not super depressed like everyone else in the show. I think that was because he had had a pretty good life. All the women, including Masha's mom (Denise Tamburino) were drawn to him. Masha's mom is not super happy, but Masha's dad, Shamrayev (David Cady, Jr.), though he doesn't seem to like his job, is pretty happy. Both Masha's dad and the doctor have just basically done what they wanted in life. In the doctor's case, he makes Masha's mom not very happy. Sometimes if you want full happiness in your life you will have to hurt some people, which I don't really want to do. And I don't think Chekhov thinks you should either because a lot of characters (like Trigorin and Nina) who do things for their own happiness, it doesn't really work out very well for anyone.

A lot of the show is pretty sad, but there are also some really funny moments. Like when Shamrayev keeps saying "Bravo, Silva" because he is so full of himself and loves his jokes so much that he keeps saying them until they aren't funny any more. And that was just really ridiculous and funny. Arkadina was also very terrible at croquet which was also very funny. She kept hitting the ball so far away from the place she wanted it, which was hilarious. It was also kind of funny how different Masha and Medvedenko were from each other and how much he loved her even though they were so different. At one point, Masha gets up and starts stamping her foot a bunch. And you think she is super mad or something. But then Masha says "my foot is asleep" in a super i-don't-even-care voice, and it was super funny.

People who would like this show are people who like Chekhov, love triangles, and bad croquet. I thought this was a really great show and I loved it. I felt bad that there weren't many people in the house the night I saw this show. It is really good, so I feel like people should go see it and that this theater deserves more audience.

Photos: Julie Mack

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