The Seagull, 100 years later

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Courtesy UW Theatre and Performance

This year’s main stage production hosted by the Theatre and Performance department will have a modern twist. The Seagull play, a 100 year old Russian classic, will be full of references to Canadian contemporary culture, filled with lines about Uber, Atwood, and vaping.

“We’re trying to empower the lead female character where the traditional production showcases her as a victim but we’re trying to empower her so it’s a new interesting take and its big goal of the production,” Kendalin Bishop, lead actress, said.

Director Matt White said the play captures the complexity of life lived in fragments, from the funny and ridiculous moments in people’s lives, to the tragic moments that catch people off guard. 

Chekhov, The Seagul’s playwright, was a physician by trade, which allowed him to look at life from a different perspective, White said. The different extremes of life that Chekhov witnessed, from people at their deathbeds to people cheering on during his plays influenced him to write this The Seagul, White said.

Chekhov showcases in this classic, with well developed characters, embodying strong emotions and big dreams, the lengths to which people will go for love, acceptance and survival. He also demonstrates the unrealistic expectations people place on each other to give them meaning. 

While Chekhov insisted that the play is a comedy, White, said that a lot of interpretation from Chekhovs’ work can be self indulgent, mellow, and glum. White loves that the play is still funny. 

“We’re really trying to find the comedy in the times of these tragic people,” White said.

Although the play has a modern touch to it, the message is as accurate today as it was 100 years ago when Chekov shows us how the idiosyncrasies of people and the obsessions that people have distract them from making true connection with others.

The two-hour long play will take place from Nov. 13-16 at the Theatre of the Arts and will be directed by Matt White, sessional instructor at UW and Artistic Director at Green Light Arts, a local non-for profit theatre company. 

Student and senior tickets are priced at $10, and at $15 for the general public.

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