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This Inspired a Director to Do 'The Seagull' in Similar Fashion

Hi, I'm one of the 8 people, who have even seen this film adaption of the play. :P Seriously, this adaptation is quite engrossing, all the more so because I don't understand watching plays generally.

In my town, there is a director who is a huge fan of Chekov. As a man who thinks as much of film as I do of live theater, he was impressed with "Uncle Vanya on 42nd Street." So impressed that he was inspired to experiment with "The Seagull" by putting it on in a large drawing room of a local, Victorian mansion with a deliberately small audience in attendence (50 seats max). And like "Vanya on 42nd" this local director's production of "The Seagull" was done with minimum sets and costuming. Really, there was no period dress involved. All modern clothing, but still taking place in 19th century Russia.

It isn't as freaky as it sounds. The director is not an experimental-avant-garde type. The production was done by a tiny, acting troupe, like community theater. I played the part of Medvendenko, the nebbish schoolmaster and lovesick, puppy-like fiance of vodka-swilling, snuffhead Masha. I had known little about theater and even less about Chekov at the time. I had only heard snide comments from time to time about lengthy, actionless scenes of people just talking - obsessive realism. Under the guidance of this particular director, I found those comments to be totally ignorant. Later on, I was involved with two other Chekov plays, "The Cherry Orchard" and "The Bear" (a one act comedy). Coming from no experience, I quickly gained an appreciation both for theater and more so for Chekov. The catch is, as the director pointed out, that Chekov is good when it is done right.


This production was actually worked on periodically for a period of years. When Ruth Nelson (who played the elderly maid) died, it was decided to commit the production to film.

I was invited to see the stage production. I think the audience was limited to 20 or 15.