For a play written over 100 years prior, Anton Chekhov’s The Seagull has elements that could would of made for a great MTV Reality Show. Complicated love triangles, affluent families, and a setting that could be described as Russia’s version of The Hills, the Seagull is a story decades before its time.
I recently attended a production done by The Arlington Players and I could see those elements come to life on the stage. An ensemble of tortured souls, yearning to satisfied their unrequited love. It’s so emo I expected Death Cab for Cutie to chime in between the many acts. While the Chekhov piece has endured the test of time with a vibrant display of human struggle, there are some aspects of the show I would of been better off without, most notably the four act length of the play. The show lasted well over three hours, something I would have cut down like other modern adaptations of the show. However I do respect to homage to the original work in this case.
The show makes me wonder, what kind of tortured soul Anton Chekhov must of been to write a piece with so much suffering. In the end no one person is truly happy and the any attempts to chase their dreams has resulted in nothing more than mediocrity.
As you can tell it the play wasn’t a very sunny piece of work.
On the tech side it was another strong execution from a design standpoint, the set was elegant, the lights were impressive, and props and costumes were done well. Looking back I’m surprised nobody has tried to use Chekhov’s play as inspiration for a modern day high-school drama. In an age where so many other classic pieces are used in television this play has elements to create real drama on the screen.
Then again we might get tired of seeing the same dismal outlook episode after episode. We may have to throw a character a bone, something Chekov refused to do back in 1895.