Epp directs impressive cast in The Seagull
Within a rural Russian landscape, Anton Chekhov’s masterpiece, The Seagull, weaves a touching and often comic story of love, ambition and hopefulness.
Showing Feb. 15-19 (8 p.m. nightly with a Feb. 19, 2 p.m. matinee) in the David Spinks Theatre, the U of L’s interpretation of the Seagull is directed by Richard Epp. Written in 1895, The Seagull set a new a standard of realism on the stage.
“By the time Anton Chekhov turned his attention to crafting The Seagull, he was established as an award-winning author of short stories, and a playwright of brief, farcical entertainments,” says Epp. “It was The Seagull which assured Chekhov’s place as a celebrated Russian playwright and as a most influential figure of 20th century theatre.”
The Seagull exposes the complex relationships and conflicts of an eccentric collection of characters visiting a sprawling country estate. Early on, it is apparent that playwright Konstantin loves his mother Irina, but is jealous of her fame as an actress and depressed about his own lack of success. From the moment Konstantin’s play is presented to family and friends, everything begins to go wrong.
“In support of The Seagull’s interest in generations of writers and actors, our talented cast and crew comprises students and alumni, faculty and staff, young and old, all of whom share a great respect for the play and a love of theatre,” remarks Epp.
“The artistic designers of The Seagull, Roger Schultz (set and costumes), James McDowell (lighting) and Kelly Roberts (sound), are alumni of our degree program in Theatre and Dramatic Arts. As students in 1989, all three worked on my production of Chekhov’s Three Sisters. It’s a pleasure to work with all of them again,” Epp says.
Among the talented cast are alumna Dr. Laurin Mann, who returns to campus as Arkadina, and Drama Education associate professor Dr. John Poulsen, who plays the bumbling estate manager, Ilya Shamrayev. Also featured, in a rare performance, is English Professor Emeritus, Dr. Brian Tyson, as the retired court official, Pyotr Sorin.
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