"Many conversations about literature, little action, five poods of love." That is how Anton Chekhov described his comedy, in which Medvedenko loves Masha, Masha loves Treplev, Treplev loves Nina, and Nina loves Trigorin, all while Shamrayev loves Polina Andreyevna, Polina Andreyevna loves Dorn, Dorn loves Arkadina, and Arkadina loves Trigorin. The situation becomes less comedic for a little while when two of these characters fall in love with each other, but "the circumstances have unexpectedly made it so that" this arcadia does not last too long. There is "little action" in the play, just the characters living their lives: some suffer from the creative process, some search for fame, some desperately try to live, some constantly attempt to end their life--all while new art forms are struggling to coexist with the old. And--did we forget?--everyone is looking for love . . .
Translated by Anton Korenev, a Russian actor and director, this dramatic translation is deeply rooted in insights from his ongoing work on his own theatrical production as director and on the character of Trigorin as actor. Many textual and visual elements and clues that are essential to the story and character interpretation are presented in the English language for the first time. Additional materials, including the translator and director's selected notes and audio and video resources, are available on the complementary website theseagullplay.com.
Ч, the trademark and service mark for our undertakings related to The Seagull, is both a letter in the Russian alphabet and a number.
The letter, pronounced as [ch], is the first letter of the following relevant words in Russian:
- the family name of the playwright;
- the name of the play [cháika];
- the family name of the composer Pyotr Tchaikovsky, a contemporary and friend of Anton Chekhov, whose music is used extensively in the theatrical production;
- the word for the number four [chetýre].
The number symbolizes:
- the four acts;
- the four seasons corresponding to each of the four acts;
- the four movements of a symphony;
- the four characters whose lives intertwine the most.
About the Author
Anton Chekhov (1860-1904), Russian physician, dramatist and author, is considered to be one of the greatest writers of short stories and modern drama. Born in Taganrog, a port town near the Black Sea, he attended medical school at Moscow University. He began writing to supplement his income, writing short humorous sketches of contemporary Russian life. A successful literary careered followed, before his premature death of TB at the age of 44. He is best-remembered for his four dramatic masterpieces: The Seagull (1896), Uncle Vanya (1899), Three Sisters (1901) and The Cherry Orchard (1904).
"Korenev has taken pains to bring the staging to the page with a new clarity. Now is perhaps an especially good time to revisit this play of loneliness and isolation; it feels like an old friend returned after a long absence--familiar, but also new."--Rain Taxi Review of Books
"A new translation of Chekhov's The Seagull pulses with an artist's sensitivity. A nuanced, aching Seagull, attentive to the rhythms and melody of Chekhov's own language, but unfussily direct in its English. Korenev's version emphasizes its Russian-ness, right down to Chekhov's insistence that this study of disappointment and suicide qualifies as comedy. Korenev's sensitivities prove attuned to the desperate surges of feeling that grip Chekhov's artists and lovers. In this rendering, the play's monologues pulse with an aching vulnerability."--BookLife Reviews, Editor's Pick
"Anton Korenev's refreshing translation of Anton Chekhov's The Seagull reveals the heart of the nineteenth-century story to a modern audience. Although The Seagull was intended to be performed, this translation provides formatting and paratextual elements that guide its reading experience."--Foreword Clarion Reviews, Five-star Review
"A crisp, conversational translation that makes Chekhov's words sing. Readers will be struck by how contemporary the dialogue sounds, even given its remote setting. This clarity helps make Chekhov's insight and humor shine all the brighter. Whether readers are familiar with the play or coming to it for the first time, Korenev's clean and balanced rendering provides a wonderful experience. One hopes he is able to take it to the stage soon."--Kirkus Reviews