The Seagull - Wikipedia
The Seagull (Russian: Чайка, translit. Chayka) is a play by Russian dramatist Anton Chekhov, . Masha has finally accepted Medvedenko's marriage proposal , and they have a child together, though Masha still nurses an unrequited Dorn tells Trigorin to somehow get Arkadina away, for Konstantin has just shot himself. He returns to calm Irina Arkadina; she fears her son Konstantin has killed . yet begs Trigorin to stay in their relationship despite her old age. Masha quotes the play in Act 2 and in Act 4 the stage and its tattered curtain It foregrounds the relationship between Arkadina and Konstantin; the tension.
In an English translation, I think, this particular reference is even more important because it is one of the few references which will be directly recognizable as a quotation to modern audiences and, thus, capture some of what the original flavor of the references throughout the play would have been for Russian audiences. Therefore, I think the line she chooses can be directly translated.
Given Konstantin's earlier comments about feeling humiliated in her social circles, this is imporant. But since most commentators who attempt to highlight this narrative relationhip do so by using the Oedipal Complex interpretation of Hamlet -- an interpretation which post-dates Chekhov's life -- it is doubtful to my mind that it is as strong as many commentators would suppose.
This was unsatisfactory to me for the reasons described above. This approach is problematic because they are no longer recognizably quoting from the play. Some translators have attempted to address this issue by removing the name of "Hamlet" -- but at that point any remnant of reference to the original play is completely lost and the entire nature of the scene is fundamentally altered.
This allows the translator to blunt the harshness and non sequitur of Kostya's response. The problem is that Kostya now looks like an idiot. Instead of playing his mother's intellectual game of quotations and matching her blow-for-blow, Kostya instead appears to misquote the play.100 Funny Quotes
Instead of showing him as clever, this approach turns him into an unmitigated and out-classed bumpkin. None of these proved satisfactory to me and so I started experimenting with other approaches. The first thing I played around with was the idea of selectively editing Kostya's quote.
For example, I tried dropping the very end of Hamlet's line " This made the line slightly less vicious, but it ultimately failed to truly alleviate the problem and still came up short in capturing most of the dynamics in the original Russian. Eventually I decided to go trolling through the entire scene from Hamlet to find a literal quotation that would work.
I have subsequently found a few other translators who have done the same, but -- as far as I know -- none have chosen the same line: Mother, for love of grace, Lay not that flattering unction to your soul, That not your trespass, but my madness speaks.
The Alexandrian - Theater Essays
She loves the lake, like a seagull, and she's happy and free, like a seagull. But a man arrives by chance, and when he sees her, he destroys her, out of sheer boredom.
Nina lingers behind, enthralled with Trigorin's celebrity and modesty, and gushes, "My dream!
Between acts Konstantin attempted suicide by shooting himself in the head, but the bullet only grazed his skull. He spends the majority of Act III with his scalp heavily bandaged. Nina finds Trigorin eating breakfast and presents him with a medallion that proclaims her devotion to him using a line from one of Trigorin's own books: Arkadina appears, followed by Sorin, whose health has continued to deteriorate.
Trigorin leaves to continue packing. There is a brief argument between Arkadina and Sorin, after which Sorin collapses in grief. He is helped off by Medvedenko. Konstantin enters and asks his mother to change his bandage. As she is doing this, Konstantin disparages Trigorin and there is another argument.
When Trigorin reenters, Konstantin leaves in tears. Trigorin asks Arkadina if they can stay at the estate. She flatters and cajoles him until he agrees to return with her to Moscow. After she has left the room, Nina comes to say her final goodbye to Trigorin and to inform him that she is running away to become an actress, against her parents' wishes.
They kiss passionately and make plans to meet again in Moscow. Act IV[ edit ] Act IV takes place during the winter two years later, in the drawing room that has been converted to Konstantin's study.
Masha has finally accepted Medvedenko's marriage proposal, and they have a child together, though Masha still nurses an unrequited love for Konstantin. Various characters discuss what has happened in the two years that have passed: Nina and Trigorin lived together in Moscow for a time until he abandoned her and went back to Arkadina. Nina never achieved any real success as an actress, and is currently on a tour of the provinces with a small theatre group.
Konstantin has had some short stories published, but is increasingly depressed.
Sorin's health is still failing, and the people at the estate have telegraphed for Arkadina to come for his final days. Most of the play's characters go to the drawing room to play a game of bingo. Konstantin does not join them, and spends this time working on a manuscript at his desk. After the group leaves to eat dinner, Konstantin hears someone at the back door.
He is surprised to find Nina, whom he invites inside. Nina tells Konstantin about her life over the last two years.
She starts to compare herself to the seagull that Konstantin killed in Act II, then rejects that and says "I am an actress. Konstantin pleads with her to stay, but she is in such disarray that his pleading means nothing.
She embraces Konstantin, and leaves. Despondent, Konstantin spends two minutes silently tearing up his manuscripts before leaving the study. The group reenters and returns to the bingo game. There is a sudden gunshot from off-stage, and Dorn goes to investigate. He returns and takes Trigorin aside.
Dorn tells Trigorin to somehow get Arkadina away, for Konstantin has just shot himself. Petersburg[ edit ] The first night of The Seagull on 17 October at the Alexandrinsky Theatre in Petersburg was a disaster, booed by the audience. The hostile audience intimidated Vera Komissarzhevskaya so severely that she lost her voice. Some considered her the best actor in Russia and who, according to Chekhov, had moved people to tears as Nina in rehearsal. The Seagull impressed the playwright and friend of Chekhov Vladimir Nemirovich-Danchenkohowever, who said Chekhov should have won the Griboyedov prize that year for The Seagull instead of himself.
Moscow Art Theatre production of The Seagull Nemirovich overcame Chekhov's refusal to allow the play to appear in Moscow and convinced Stanislavski to direct the play for their innovative and newly founded Moscow Art Theatre in In the first act something special started, if you can so describe a mood of excitement in the audience that seemed to grow and grow.
Most people walked through the auditorium and corridors with strange faces, looking as if it were their birthday and, indeed, dear God I'm not joking it was perfectly possible to go up to some completely strange woman and say: Stanislavski's attention to psychological realism and ensemble playing coaxed the buried subtleties from the play and revived Chekhov's interest in writing for the stage.
Chekhov's unwillingness to explain or expand on the script forced Stanislavski to dig beneath the surface of the text in ways that were new in theatre. It also featured Chiwetel Ejiofor and Art Malik.
The production was directed by Ian Ricksonand received great reviews, including The Metro Newspaper calling it "practically perfect". Garai in particular received rave reviews, The Independent calling her a "woman on the edge of stardom",  and the London Evening Standard calling her "superlative", and stating that the play was "distinguished by the illuminating, psychological insights of Miss Garai's performance.