Seagull (2012)


  • February 23 - June 22, 2012
  • Directed by Libby Appel | By Anton Chekhov, Adapted by Libby Appel
Run Time:Closed June 22

You can’t always get what you want

On a 19th-century Russian lakeside estate, the magic of summer evokes passion in three generations of self-doubting artists. Masha pines for the young writer Kostya, but Kostya yearns for the aspiring actress Nina, who is infatuated with the older novelist Trigorin. Trigorin “loves” both Nina and theatre diva Irina. Irina decidedly loves herself. And everyone aches for recognition, as artists and as human beings. With material not in earlier stage versions, Appel delivers a sexy, full-blooded adaptation of Chekhov’s heartbreaking and comic exposé of unfulfilled desire.

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Audience notes: there is a sudden loud noise in the last act.

It’s a summer evening on a Russian farm, and family and friends are gathering to watch the first performance of Konstantin’s avant-garde play. Their conversations reveal a growing chain of misdirected desires. Medvedenko wants Masha, who secretly loves Konstantin, who’s in love with Nina; Polina, married to Shamrayev, desires Dorn instead.

The performance is not a success, and Konstantin angrily halts it. He had wanted his play to impress his famous mother and captivate Nina, its star. But Nina is drawn to Arkadina’s lover, the writer Trigorin, who embodies the artistic fame that she craves.

Konstantin, grown increasingly distraught, appears before Nina carrying a dead seagull. He has shot it, he tells her, as he will one day shoot himself. While she is horrified, Trigorin is intrigued. The dead bird sparks his idea for a story about a girl, “happy and free,” who is destroyed by a man, “just like this seagull here.”

Noting his nephew’s frustrations, Sorin asks Arkadina to give Konstantin money to travel and spread his wings. Arkadina, always tight-fisted with others, says no. She is soon confronted by another request for freedom; Trigorin begs her to release him so he can pursue Nina. Arkadina’s passionate refusal temporarily quells him, but when he learns that Nina is running away to become an actress in Moscow, Trigorin arranges to meet her there.

Two years later. Masha has married Medvedenko, but like her mother, she’s still in hopeless love with another. Nina’s attempt at escape seems similarly fruitless. According to Konstantin, she never achieved real success on the stage, and Trigorin has left her and returned to Arkadina.
Konstantin, too, seems stuck. While he’s had several of his stories published, he fears he’s fallen into the same artistic complacency he once despised.

As Konstantin reads over a story draft with increasing despair, Nina suddenly appears. Konstantin tells her he feels dead without her, but she’s been hired by a provincial theatre company and cannot stay. She lost hope, she says, but has found her strength and talent again. She reveals she’s still in love with Trigorin. Then she goes. Despondent, Konstantin slowly rips up his manuscripts and leaves.

Arkadina, Trigorin and the others return and resume their card game. And in the next room, Konstantin makes his story about the seagull come true.

Artistic Team

Libby Appel
Scenic Designer
Christopher Acebo
Costume Designer
Deborah M. Dryden
Lighting Desinger
Alexander V. Nichols
Composer/ Sound Designer
Todd Barton
Allison Horsley
Voice and Text Director
Rebecca Clark Carey

Cast List

Al Espinosa*
Konstantin Treplyov
Tasso Feldman*
Michael J. Hume*
Dr. Dorn
Armando Durán*
John Pribyl*
Jonathan Dyrud**
Cory Davison
Irina Arkadina
Kathryn Meisle*
Nell Geisslinger*
Kate Hurster*
Lisa Wolpe*
Ako *
Kate Torcom
* Member of Actors' Equity Association (AEA)
**AEA Professional Theatre Intern
  • Seagull


    Get a sneak peek at our 2012 production of Seagull, written by Anton Chekhov and adapted and directed by Libby Appel, playing February 23 - June 22, 2012.

  • Seagull

    Artist Profile

    OSF's Resident Composer Todd Barton shares a bit of his process on composing music for Seagull.

  • Allison Horsley

    Know Before You Go: Allison Horsley

    Allison Horsley, Translator and Dramaturg of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival's 2012 production Seagull, introduces the play to the company. Get some insight into Anton Chekhov's particular sense of humor, Russian naming, and a bit of the process Allison went through to help take the play from the page to the stage.

  • Seagull

    Know Before You Go: Nelson Eusebio III

    Nelson Eusebio III, recipient of the 2012 Phil Killian Directing Fellowship and Assistant Director of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival's 2012 production Seagull, talks about the rehearsal process, collaboration between director and designers, symbolism and plot.

  • Libby Appel

    Production Notes

    Director Libby Appel discusses the production of and design team for Seagull.

  • Libby Appel

    The Adaptation

    Director Libby Appel talks about her new adaptation of Seagull.

  • Mercury News logo

    San Jose Mercury News

    “Libby Appel's sublime 'Seagull' … soars… The former OSF artistic director eschews extravagant sets and costumes to revel in the poetry of the language. That same pursuit of aesthetic purity binds a circle of artists together in the 19th-century Russian countryside. The ensemble reveals the symphonic richness of the text, artfully shading each moment.”

  • Eugene Weekly logo

    Eugene Weekly

    “Any excuse you have for not loving Chekov is no longer being accepted. Director Libby Appel’s lucid translation pulls every familiar ounce of humanity from the 19th-century Russian script and lays it lushly across Christopher Acebo’s enthralling set. As a result, any of these characters could easily be re-costumed and slipped into an angst-ridden Hollywood drama. The story springs from the painfully convoluted relationship between a famous actress and her aspiring writer son. Vanity wins over love, and heartbreak and longing ripple though the lives of everyone connected.”

  • Tri-City Weekly logo

    Tri-City Weekly/Eureka Times Standard

    “The Oregon Shakespeare Festival's intriguing production of 'Seagull,' is director Libby Appel's own clever and insightful adaptation of one of revolutionary Russian playwright Anton Chekhov's most complex creations. Basing her updated version on Allison Horsley's literal translation of Chekhov's original script, Appel has approached the material, the characters and the scenic setting in fresh, innovative ways.”