Saturday, November 29, 2008

NYC: The Seagull (Walter Kerr Theater) - 11/29/08

This is a smashing and seductive "Seagull", narrowly beating the Donmar production of "Ivanov", which I saw in London this past summer, as the finest production of Chekhov I have yet encountered. It's an organically paced production with melancholy written all over the beautifully austere designs. But it's the performances that bring this play to spectacular life. Each member of the cast gives fully committed and nuanced performances, and each beautifully walk the Chekhovian tightrope between life's absurdity, hilarity, and tragedy. Kristin Scott Thomas is giving a ferocious yet regal performance as the aging diva Arkadina. Also, special mention must go to Zoe Kazan, who almost steals the show with her comic timing as the chronically depressed Masha. As fine as Ms. Thomas and Kazan are, the ensemble is the star here, which should be the case for this play. The performers collectively are transcendent, awesomely portraying the essence of lives lived. As a huge Chekhov enthusiast, one can only imagine the bliss I was in. A must see.

Rating: ***** (out of *****)

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