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The Sea Gull (van Itallie adaptation)

The Sea Gull (van Itallie adaptation)
Your Price: $16.95 CDN
Author: Anton Chekhov
Adapted by: Jean-Claude van Itallie
Publisher: Dramatists Play Service
Format: Softcover
# of Pages: 57
Pub. Date: 1997
Edition: Acting
ISBN-10: 0822215888
ISBN-13: 9780822215882

About the Play:

The Sea Gull is a full-length drama by Anton Chekhov, in a revised English version by Jean-Claude van Itallie. A young girl seeks fame at any cost, and her life and psyche are irrevocably destroyed. A famous man feels betrayed and finds unhealthy outlets to deal with his frustrations. A famous woman puts her career first, neglects her son, and loses touch with her ability to nurture and parent. The Seagull, one of the most classic and utterly contemporary plays in modern drama, is especially recommended for school and contest use.

The Sea Gull is about a very human tendency to reject love that is freely given and seek it where it is withheld. Many of its characters are caught in a destructive, triangular relationship that evokes both pathos and humour. The setting is the estate of the wealthy Sorin, where a group of family and friends are spending the languid summer months. Included are Madame Arkadina, Sorin's sister and famous actress; her sensitive would-be-writer son, Treplyev; and the charming, successful author Trigorin. The action concerns the interweaving of their lives with the others, and all the romance, intrigue, hopes and disappointments that this life leads to. What the characters cannot successfully parry is the destructive force of time, the passage of which robs some, like famous actress Madame Arkadina, of beauty, and others, like her son of hope. The Sea Gull is an absorbing and compelling tapestry and evocation of real life and real people and, ultimately, a deeply moving and revealing human experience.

Jean-Claude van Itallie's version of The Sea Gull was first produced in 1973 at the MacArthur Theater in Princeton. In 1973 it premiered both at the American Repertory Theatre in Cambridge, Massachusetts and at the Manhattan Theatre Club (MTC) in New York. The play has become a favourite scene study vehicle in acting classes and workshops and is regularly performed in regional repertory, high school, college, and community theatre productions.

Cast: 6 women, 7 men

What people say:

"It is sublimely understood Chekhov…an event and a thrilling one." — New York Post

"It is a very fluent, idiomatic version…it has none of the stiffness of a translation, yet, so far as I can tell, it remains absolutely true to Chekhov." — New York Times

"The story felt remarkably contemporary, thanks in part to a witty translation by Brussels-born playwright Jean-Claude Van Itallie." — Los Angeles Daily News

About the Playwright:

Anton Pavlovich Chekhov (1860-1904) was the author of hundreds of short stories and several plays and is regarded by many as both the greatest Russian storyteller and the father of modern drama. From Chekhov, many contemporary playwrights have learnt how to use mood, apparent trivialities and inaction to highlight the internal psychology of characters. He is buried in Novodevichy Cemetery in Moscow.

Jean-Claude van Itallie is one of the most distinguished playwrights of the American avant-garde. Born in Brussels, Belgium, he was three when his family fled the Holocaust to America as refugees in 1940. He grew up on suburban Long Island, graduated Harvard in 1958, and in the 1960s was a seminal force in the explosive New York Off-Broadway theatre. He may be best-known for America Hurrah (his acclaimed anti-Viet Nam war trilogy comprised of Interview, TV and Motel), The Serpent, Tibetan Book of the Dead, and his translations of Chekhov's major plays, which are prized by directors and actors for their clarity and subtle rhythms, are possibly the most performed Chekhov versions on the American stage.