May 282014
 

The SeagullWritten by Anton Chekhov, this play is about familiar themes: city and country life, the paths available to an artist, the difficulty of being a family, the bonds and conflicts between the old and the young. This version was adapted by the director, Peter Hinton, who made it a contemporary piece with modern references. This kind of change often wrecks a play, but in this case, it worked really well.

The older actors ran circles around the younger ones, which makes the play seem very much to take their side. It’d be interesting to see the same adaptation with young actors running circles around their elders because I suspect the play is complete enough to take the kids’ side if they did.

The Segal Center made a trailer for the performance that makes the whole thing look like a Denys Arcand film. Which is apt: the piece kept reading as a pastiche or homage to Le Déclin de l’empire américain. The synopsis provided by the theatre reads:

By a lake, in the country, a summer night inspires a family of artists to love, to live and to question the real exchange of art, passion and experience. Chekhov’s masterpiece is brought to life in a new version by visionary director and playwright Peter Hinton, starring two of Canada’s most celebrated leading ladies, Lucy Peacock and Diane D’Aquila. The Seagull is heartbreaking and comic, funny and bittersweet – a modern take on a classic play for our times.

 

 May 28, 2014  Theatre Logs Tagged with: , ,
Dec 032013
 

La cerisaieThe Beav and I went to see a performance of this play at Le Théâtre du Rideau Vert. I was fascinated by the performance but wasn’t sure what I was watching. At times, the whole thing played as farce; at others, tragedy. I assumed this was a problem with the direction: whoever he was–and we didn’t recognize him from his bio at all–the director hadn’t figured out what his play was about. Or so it seemed.

But then, intrigued by the whole thing, I did some research online, and it seems like the play has been controversial since its first performance. No one is sure whether the thing ridicules or mourns the passing of the cultured Russian aristocracy. The director of the version we saw staged clearly decided to capture the ambivalence rather than resolve it. Which is an interesting choice and one I can respect.

 

(Production Details after the break.)

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 December 3, 2013  Theatre Logs Tagged with: ,