The Seagull is a special kind of balancing act and a proving ground for actors and directors alike. It’s functionally a comedy but it's got a dark side. And for being as old as dirt is still feels progressive, even a little edgy. When Masha declares "I am in mourning for my life" only a few lines into the play, it can bring the house down laughing. Only she means every word. And so it goes with Anton Chekhov’s bleak knee-slapper about an aging actress, her lover the philandering author, her son the struggling young artist, reluctant horses, the spirit of humanity, and various other friends, employees and family relations all perched somewhere between disappointment and death. Every giddy note is rooted in sensuality and laced with sorrow. Every tragic strain an excuse for wit and whimsy. On an epically-imagined set that faintly echoes POTS' Angels in America, director Irene Crist and her first rate company of character actors negotiate a dramatic obstacle course to find exactly the right balance. The result is a fast-paced, bittersweet revival of a modern classic that, in its most darkly absurd moments, could be mistaken for a farce by Eugene Ionesco.
Don’t let my brevity fool you, I think this Seagull soars.