The Appalachian State University Department of Theatre and Dance proudly presents The Seagull by Anton Chekhov, in a translation by Paul Schmidt. The play was Chekhov’s first successful naturalist play, and follows the lives of young artists as they navigate life. Performances will take place in I.G. Greer Studio Theatre on the university campus during an extended two-week performance run at 7 p.m. from Wednesday through Saturday, October 30 through November 2 and November 6 through 9 with a 2 p.m. matinee on Sunday, Nov. 3.
About The Seagull
“If you ever need my life, come take it.” So, wrote Trigorin, lover of the fading actress Arkadina, in his most famous book. Nina, a young ingenue and the beloved muse of Arkadina’s playwright son, Konstantin, absorbs this statement completely. When the two actresses — one young, and one aging — and the two writers — one successful, and one struggling — meet at the family estate one fateful summer, their loyalty, love, and ambition are put to the ultimate test, as this play follows these four characters. Chekhov’s The Seagull is a remarkable drama about passion, compromise, and the unknowable, untouchable concept of art.
According to Assistant Professor of Theatre Dr. Derek Davidson, director of the production, The Seagull is a realistic dramatization of people living life. “It’s a play about people being people,” Davidson says. “It’s a play in which almost nothing happens, but everything happens as well.” The Seagull tells the story of four artists and the romantic and artistic conflicts that arise between them. Set on a countryside estate in Russia, each audience member gets to be a “fly on the wall,” watching the rise and fall of love and relationships of all the characters. “We don’t see Chekhov’s works produced very often in the High Country,” Davidson remarked, giving yet another reason to see this play. When this production premiered on the stage in October of 1896, it was an initial failure, but nowadays it is considered one of Chekhov’s greatest plays.
Introducing The Cast and Faculty
In the small and intimate I.G. Greer Studio Theatre, thirteen student cast members will create “as real a place as possible,” according to Davidson, noting that they range in age and experience, but are all equal in skill level. Two of the thirteen actors are first year students making their Appalachian stage debut in this show. While this is an ensemble work of theatre, there is a quartet of pivotal acting roles, listed in order of appearance: Clayton Paige, a sophomore theatre performance major from Mount Pleasant, NC as Konstantin; Zoe Dean, a senior theatre performance major from Carthage, NC as Nina; Zoe Nagel, a first year psychology major and theatre minor from Raleigh, NC as Arkadina; and Shane Buchheit, a senior theatre arts education major from Cape Coral, FL as Trigorin.
Scenic and lighting design is by Professor Michael Helms and Professor Martha Marking is designing costumes for the period play with stage management by senior Bailey Bossow, a senior design and technology major from Clayton, NC.
“I want this to be an immersive experience,” says Davidson. “There is a lot more to relate to than most people think. A lot of what happened then still happens today. I.G. Greer Studio Theatre is a very small venue with only 85 seats and, in such an intimate space, you are able to connect more readily with the characters. You notice little things, such as subtleties in facial expressions, and feel the emotions of the characters much more strongly than you would in a typical theatre.” While Davidson and his cast are making extensive efforts to draw audience members into the content, he stressed that the work is still very much a story about people. “We are in nature, but we are also watching human endeavor in all its magnitude, pettiness, beauty and sadness,” Davidson says.
Please note that The Seagull includes themes of mental illness and suicide; a gunshot is heard during the performance.
Tickets, Parking and Logistics
Tickets are $7 for students, $12 for faculty/staff and adults. Tickets are available at the Schaefer Center for the Performing Arts box office Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., by phone at 800-841-ARTS (2787) or 828-262-4046 or online. All performances take place in I. G. Greer Studio Theatre located on the east side of campus at 401 Academy Street. The entrance to the theatre is through a red door located on the lower level of I.G. Greer Hall. Parking is available in faculty/staff parking lots after 5:30 p.m., as well as in Rivers Street and College Street parking decks on campus. Parking is free nights and weekends on campus.
Photo Credits: Lynn Willis
Production Logo: Brad Parquette
Media Contact: Keith Martin