Seagull in the City

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I went to see Anton Chekhov’s The Seagull, starring Kristen Scott Thomas. A long-time fan of the play, I’d never seen it on the stage and was excited for this London-born (Royal Court Theatre) version to come to Broadway.

After dinner at good old Don Giovanni’s, we headed over to the theater a few blocks away. The scenery was perfect: minimal, yet set the mood. The first act set consisted of several trees dappled on the side of the stage and the side of a house.  As the actors took their places, you could almost feel the cold of a chilly, Russian evening (actually, it was pretty freezing in the theater, so you could feel it).  The costumes were stunning and perfect, making me envy these bored Russian aristocrats. Set, costumes, and characters came together to draw the audience into this production.

Kirsten Scott Thomas had a strong stage presence with just the right amount of drama for the overwhelming character of Arkadina. Nina’s portrayal by beautiful Carey Mulligan was very natural and genuine. Mackenzie Crook from Pirates of the Caribbean played a brooding Konstantin. I wasn’t hugely impressed by his acting, which seemed a bit too much of a one-note for me. But to be fair, I kept imagining his eye popping out of his head and rolling around the stage. The supporting characters were all very strong, particularly Peter Sarsgaard as Trigorin and Zoe Kazan as Masha.

In all, I felt the production was well-done and well-acted. The play is a bit like Seinfeld set in the Russian countryside in the 1800’s, with their rambling conversation (which I enjoy). But the pace was off in the second act and I could feel the audience getting restless as the play went on. I’m not sure if this was a problem with direction or acting, but some people actually left early. I stayed to the bitter end, but I opted out of the standing ovation.

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