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The United Players of Vancouver

The Seagull

by Anton Chekhov

Director Irina Templeton  Costume Lisa Dickson Stage and Scenery R. Todd Parker Lighting Izzy Rubin Sound Designer Jeff Tymoschuk Composer Matte Gillard Stage Manager Cameron Crookston

Dates 8 September  - 1 October, 2006   Venue Jericho Arts Centre Reviewer Jane Penistan

Danielle McKechnie as Nina

The United Players of Vancouver opened its new season with Chekhov’s The Seagull. Directed by Irina Templeton, this was a colourful production. The set was spacious, with indications of solid architectural features. A row of non-functioning footlights separated stage front from the audience. Lighting equipment occupied a stage right corner.

To emphasize Arcadina’s self importance and flamboyance she was dressed in a succession of brightly coloured elaborate gowns, in the style of the belle epoch. In contrast, Nina first appeared in flowing virginal white, and later in muted but still elegant, simplicity. The men were garbed in dark clothes or uniforms, some in theatrical Russian landowner style, and others in modern dress.

Tony Loychuk led the cast with his wise and compassionate Dr. Dorn, and was ably supported by Luke Day’s Sorin. Danielle McKechnie’s Nina grew from an excited and seductive girl to a mature and disillusioned woman of the world. As Arcadina’s son, Konstantin, Adam Lolacher was overwhelmed by his dominant mother and aroused sympathy and pity for his unhappy state.

Trigorin (Ian Attewell) with his assurance and urbanity, was a revelation for the not so innocent Nina, a sophisticated contrast to the isolated rural Konstantin, and an upcoming celebrity for Arcadina to introduce to the bucolic family and peasants of the estate. Sally Clark’s Arcadina was self-centred and flamboyant but lacked the self-assured, inborn authority expected of this dominant character.

There was some lack of conviction in parts of this production, as if the actors were delivering their lines without really believing in them. This was mostly in the less prominent roles. Irina Templeton kept all the humour of The Seagull well to the fore, so that the tragedy was all the more dramatic and affecting. This was a well-directed production..

© 2006 Jane Penistan