Nineteenth-century Russian dramatist Anton Chekhov has been unfairly maligned by some readers, who dismiss his dramas as “plotless” and dry, says John Gulley, theatre professor and director of UNCG Theatre’s upcoming production of Chekhov’s “The Seagull.”
“‘The Seagull’ is not plotless, although it’s not overly shaped like some contemporary dramas,” Gulley says. “It’s not a melodrama and it’s not a rollercoaster ride. But Chekhov captures instead the everydayness of the tragedy of life. The play is robust and vigorous, that’s what Chekhov was writing. There’s a lot of life in these plays.”
UNCG’s “Seagull” runs Feb. 19-28 in Taylor Theatre. The play is, in Gulley’s words, a “beautiful, heart-breaking love story,” a tale that encompasses unrequited love, class conflict and the age-old war between realism and idealism.
Chekhov’s plays, which preceded the Russian Revolution and fall of czarist Russia by more than two decades, “capture the long, slow demise of the Russian aristocracy,” Gulley says. “He was very much writing of his period.”
“Seagull,” written in 1895, is character-driven, revolving around a young and idealistic writer, Konstantin; his neglectful and selfish mother, Arkadina, a famous actress; her lover, Trigorin, an established, and more jaded, writer; and Konstantin’s love, Nina. The characters come together at a country estate far removed from the excitement of Moscow and St. Petersburg.
“Chekhov doesn’t pull any punches,” Gulley says. “His characters are fully realized, as far away from stereotypes as you can get. He recognizes them as human beings. He puts real people on the stage and real people are messy and challenging.”
Showtimes and dates are: 7 p.m. Feb. 19, 20, 23-27; 2 p.m. Feb. 21 and 28.
Tickets are $15 for adults; $12 for non-UNCG students, senior citizens, and children; $9 for groups of 10 or more and UNCG alumni; and $7 for UNCG students.
Call the University Box Office at 4-4849 or visit http://boxoffice.uncg.edu to purchase tickets.