Chekhov’s ‘The Seagull’ glides into UNLV

"With love to lead the way, I found more clouds of gray than any Russian play could guarantee."

— George and Ira Gershwin’s "But Not For Me"

Everybody happy?

Then try this:

"Wherever there is degeneration and apathy, there is also sexual perversion, cold depravity, miscarriage, premature old age, grumbling youth, there is a decline in the arts, indifference to science and injustice in all its forms."

How about now?

That’s Anton Chekhov, circa 1889, in a personal correspondence.

Those Russian playwrights. Such sunshine-spreaders.

You can treat yourself to a dose of the Chekhovian mind-set beginning tonight when Nevada Conservatory Theatre unveils its production of his drama "The Seagull" on the Judy Bayley Theatre stage at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

Plot? Described as a combination of comedy and cruelty, it centers around four characters in two-turns-of-a-century-ago Russia: fading actress Irina, her playwright son Konstantin, Nina, the ingenue, and a writer, Trigorin. When Irina arrives at her country estate with Trigorin, who is her young lover, romantic and artistic conflicts ensue and jealousies break out everywhere.

Critics pegged "The Seagull" as a play about people so self-absorbed and obsessed over what they have and don’t have that they’re oblivious to comprehending the plight of anyone but themselves.

Charming crowd.

While also considered one of Russia’s greatest short-story writers, Chekhov wrote four major plays — the other three are "Uncle Vanya," "Three Sisters" and "The Cherry Orchard" — but "The Seagull" is lauded as his top drama achievement. (Chekhov was also a physician who once described his dual passions this way: "Medicine is my lawful wife and literature is my mistress.")

"The Seagull" is noted for characters who do not speak directly to the issues they are confronting but dodge them, speaking in subtext, which of course makes it intriguing, but also a puzzle to some theatergoers.

Famously, the play’s opening night in 1896 in St. Petersburg, Russia, was deemed a disaster. Portraying Nina, actress Vera Komissarzhevskaya was reportedly so frightened by the audience’s hostility toward the piece that she lost her voice. Seated in the audience, the playwright himself fled, spending the last two acts backstage.

However, fate eventually favored Chekhov two years later, when legendary Russian director Constantin Stanislavski helmed it for a 1898 production for his Moscow Art Theatre. That interpretation was a triumph that one critic, apparently a fan of hyperbole, called "one of the greatest events in the history of Russian theater and one of the greatest new developments in the history of world drama."

Take that, cranky premiere night theatergoers.

As for the disposition of Nevada Conservatory Theatre’s premiere night theatergoers, well, let’s hear from the playwright himself, via another personal letter he penned in 1900:

"One usually dislikes a play while writing it, but afterward it grows on one. Let others judge and make decisions."

Break a leg, Anton.

Contact reporter Steve Bornfeld at sbornfeld@ or 702-383-0256.

This "Alice in Wonderland" cocktail changes colors and flavors while you sip
Take a tour of The Underground at The Mob Museum
Prince death investigation coming to an end
Prosecutors in Minnesota plan an announcement Thursday on the two-year investigation into Prince's death from a drug overdose Prince was 57 when he was found alone and unresponsive in an elevator at his Paisley Park estate on April 21, 2016. An autopsy found he died of an accidental overdose of fentanyl. Search warrants unsealed about a year after Prince died showed that authorities searched his home, cellphone records of associates and his email accounts to try to determine how he got the drug. The county attorney has scheduled a morning announcement at which time charges could be filed.
Art Bell’s Top 10 Shows
A selection of radio host Art Bell’s most popular shows.
Big Bounce America visits North Las Vegas
Billing itself as "the biggest bounce house in the world," Big Bounce America visits Craig Ranch Regional Park in Las Vegas.
David Copperfield in court after man injured during magic trick
The attorney for a British man who is suing illusionist David Copperfield said his client suffered serious injuries after being called on stage during Copperfield's show at MGM Grand.
Disneyland debuts new foods for Pixar Fest on Friday
Pixar Fest takes place ahead of California Adventure’s Pixar Pier expansion. (Janna Karel/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Sneak Peek at New Decorations, Merch and Parade for Disneyland's Pixar Fest
Las Vegas Philharmonic celebrates 20th anniversary season
Orchestra’s 2018-19 season features premiere, more (Carol Cling/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Downtown Las Vegas' newest bar is a reggae lounge
Jammyland serves island-inspired cocktails. (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
5 things connecting Las Vegas and Marilyn Monroe
1. Marilyn Monroe, known then as Norma Jeane, obtained her first divorce in Las Vegas at the age of 20 on September 13, 1946. 2. According to some biographers, Monroe lived at 604 S. 3rd Street for four months during the summer of 1946. The house has since been torn down and is now the site of a parking lot. 3. In 1954, Monroe almost married Joe DiMaggio in Las Vegas but the wedding was called off last minute. The wedding was to be held at the Hotel El Rancho Vegas which was located on the southwest corner of Sahara Avenue and Las Vegas Boulevard. 4. Las Vegas has at least one road dedicated to the star. Marilyn Monroe Avenue is located in east Las Vegas and intersects with Betty Davis Street and Cary Grant Court. 5. There are currently more than 20 Marilyn Monroe impersonators for hire in the Las Vegas Valley.
This boozy milkshake is big enough to share with seven of your best friends
Fiddlestix makes an "8 Man Milkshake" that's packed with alcohol. (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Five Chris Stapleton songs you need to hear
D. Michael Evola opened E-String to make New York style pizza
Shamrock Macarons at Morels at Palazzo
Zuma serves a sushi roll topped with 24-karat gold
La Cirque covers their quail and foie gras in real gold
Jean-Georges Steakhouse seves chocolate gold bars
3 ways you can eat gold in Las Vegas
Artist Kathleen Nathan On The Virtues Of Library Galleries
The Las Vegas-Clark County Library District’s art galleries offers artists a more relaxed vibe for showing their work. (John Przybys/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Nevada SPCA Competes In Tournament Of Tails
The NSPCA and its mascot cat, Prince, are competing in an online voting challenge for a $5,000 grand prize.
Red carpet at MGM for Dan Reynolds Believer screening
Kats on the red carpet for the VIP screening of "Believer," the documentary by Imagine Dragons frontman Dan Reynolds about how the Mormon Church treats its LGBTQ members.
Eureka's cocktail comes with a "buzz button" that will shock your taste buds
‘The Sopranos’ Prequel Film Confirmed
‘The Sopranos’ Prequel Film Confirmed Deadline reports that New Line has purchased Chase and Lawrence Konner’s screenplay for their “Sopranos” prequel film. The working title for the prequel is “The Many Saints of Newark.” Chase created the HBO series, which ran for six seasons, and Konner served as a writer. “The Many Saints of Newark” is set during the 1960s riots in the New Jersey city between the African-American and Italian communities. Multiple characters from the series, albeit younger versions, are expected to star in the film. The Sopranos won 21 Primetime Emmy Awards and five Golden Globe Awards during its run.
The Big Bounce America is coming to the Las Vegas Valley
The Big Bounce America. (Courtesy Big Bounce America)
The 90th Oscars Were the Least Watched in History
The 90th Oscars Were the Least Watched in History According to The Hollywood Reporter, 26.5 million watched the Oscars, a 20 percent drop from last year. The 26.5 million viewers would be an all-time low for the Oscars. Overnight returns had the lengthy ABC telecast averaging a 18.9 rating among households between 8 and 11 p.m. ET. Last year, 32.9 million viewers tuned in to watch the ceremony. The previous low for viewership was 32 million viewers in 2008 when Jon Stewart was host. The Shape of Water picked up an award for Best Picture, while Gary Oldman and Frances McDormand won Best Actor and Actress, respectively.
March First Friday theme is “Think”
First Friday art, culture, music and food event takes place on the first Friday of every month in and around the studios and galleries of the Arts District in downtown Las Vegas. (K.M. Cannon)
Cirque’s One Night for One Drop gets ready for the big night
Cirque du Soleil’s “One Night for One Drop” performed a dress rehearsal for the annual benefit show. This year’s show at Mandalay Bay is based on the life of singer-songwriter Jewel. K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal
The Kosher Experience provides kosher foods to Las Vegas families
2018-19 Broadway Las Vegas at The Smith Center
Ten touring productions are on The Smith Center’s 2018-19 Broadway Las Vegas season schedule. (The Smith Center)
News Headlines
Local Spotlight
Home Front Page Footer Listing
You May Like

You May Like