The Seagull Review – Brilliant, Strong Performances Revive This Classic

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The Seagull, from Sony Pictures Classics, presents the Anton Chekhov play that centers on a wealthy family of artistic and aristocratic Russians who summer on an estate each entertaining new ideas as loves, lives and passions change around them.

Directed by Michael Mayer, The Seagull stars Annette Bening, Saoirse Ronan, Corey Stoll, Billy Howle, Elizabeth Moss, Mare Winningham, Brain Dennehy, Jon Tenney, Glenn Fleshler, Michael Zegen, Ben Thompson and was written for the screen by Stephen Karam.

The Seagull begins with an loud applause as Irina, played by Annette Bening, savors the moment and bows. Her lover, Boris, played by Corey Stoll, whispers in her ear and a wave of concern flashes across her face.

Off they go as quickly as possible to the home she and her brother, Sorin, played by Brian Dennehy, own and where he is having another spell and may fade at any minute. Attended by Polina, played by Mare Winningham, he asks if Irina has been told.


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Just then the door opens, and Irina rushes to her brother, and having her home seems to be the miracle medicine and soon everyone has gathered around. Her son Konstantin, played by Billy Howle, a budding essayist has just been published, and is exhibiting his usual disdain for all.

As it is the weekend, the house beings to fill up with family, friends and guest all of whom are familiar with each other and have through the years looked on each other with the eyes of love, enjoyed romantic relationships or carried a hidden torch.

This weekend as Konstantin re-introduces the neighbor, Nina, played by Saoirse Ronan, she will be the star of his play, which he plans to expand the boundaries of literary presentation. When they begin, with the entire family watching, Konstantin an angst filled artist struggles with his art no being received in the seriousness he feels is worthy and immediately stops the play.

The Seagull, which has withstood the test of time and remains one of the most often revived works of Russian playwright Anton Chekhov tells the story of unrequited love, of unfulfilled creative passion, of station and the rarity of escape.

As the play continues we meet Masha, played by Elizabeth Moss, the daughter of the Estate manager Shamrayev, played by Glenn Fleshler and his wife Polina, played by Mara Winningham, she is in love with Konstantin who is in love with Nina who meets Boris, during the weekend and is immediately drawn to his sophistication and contacts in Moscow, and falls quickly for him and he for her, at least for the moment.

The schoolteacher, Medvedenko, played by Michael Zegen, loves Masha who treats him with disdain and refuses to be discouraged. Polina secretly carries a torch for the doctor, Dorn, played by Jon Tenney, who while open to the possibility is simply being kind and truly holds on to the fantasy of rekindling a romance with Irina.

As each attempt to maneuver the circumstances and situation which will have them close to the object of their affections The Seagull becomes comical with serious undertones.

With strong character driven performances our talent steps into these well developed roles and handles the time tested screenplay with strength. Bold choices by the director to slightly modernize the setting while keeping the characters, wardrobe, and significant details for the day and time.


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Annette Bening leads an all-star cast into the world of Anton Chekhov’s The Seagull. She is brilliant as Irina, as the entire cast capture a time and season. Brian Dennehy gives a excellent rendition of Sorin, the fading away with one foot always in the grave as Father time has silenced future dreams.

Saoirse Ronan and Billy Howle play very well opposite each other. Ronan gives a wonderful performance throughout. The entire cast is impressive and draw the audience into their romantically challenged and shocking world.

The Seagull opens May 11, 2018. See it.

 

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