The Seag­ull

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out of five that much into her. She seems re­signed to her love­less fate, but as Dorn is about to bring a bou­quet into the house to Irina, she in­ter­cepts him with a cheer­ful, “What lovely flow­ers,” then grabs them and tears them to pieces in a fit of fury. Chekhov’s in­ti­macy with the ways of the heart has al­ways made his works ap­pear younger than his age and thor­oughly mod­ern. The brood­ing, snuff-head Masha could walk down Portage Av­enue to­day. Ditto for the smit­ten striver Con­stan­tine or the in­no­cent Nina, who in­spires the bird metaphor of the ti­tle. The well-paced four-act, two-hour pro­duc­tion (not in­clud­ing in­ter­mis­sion), is a ma­jor un­der­tak­ing on the small Ware­house stage, but de­signer Sue LaPage suc­ceeds in shoe­horn­ing in the open­ing lake­side scene, a tight squeeze that forced ac­tors to make their en­trances down the aisles of the the­atre. The Seag­ull in­tro­duced many of Chekhov’s playwriting trade­marks, in­clud­ing might­ily lit­tle plot. Any­thing im­por­tant will take place off­stage, leav­ing him more time to poke fun at hu­man folly. He also never loads the deck in favour of one or two of his char­ac­ters but de­mands that all be seen as equals wor­thy of our sym­pa­thy and amuse­ment. That lev­els the play­ing field for

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