The Seagull

Kate Perry

The AVPA Blurred Vision Theater Company’s production of Anton Chekhov’s The Seagull opened Friday, Nov. 14 in the Sony Black Box Theatre.
The play revolves around a group of Russian writers and actors vacationing at a country house in the late nineteenth century.  Each character grapples with unrequited love, yearnings for fame and recognition, or lack of fulfillment.  The central plot features two love triangles between four characters: Arkadina, a vain and self-absorbed middle-aged actress, loves the famous writer Trigorin, who is in turn interested in Nina, a young girl who is fascinated by fame and the glamor of the stage.  Arkadina’s son Treplev desperately loves Nina, who now has eyes only for Trigorin.  As this is a Russian play, it should come as no surprise that the ending is far from happy.  Somewhat surprisingly, however, Chekhov labeled the work a comedy, despite the fact that its themes are quite dark.   BVTC labeled their production a “dramedy,” successfully incorporating laughter and sorrow.
All the actors offered deeply poignant and mature performances, proving themselves amply qualified for such a dark production.  The scenes between Nina (Paxton Amor) and Treplev (Ryan Gacula) were particularly well done, as were those between Treplev (Ryan Gacula) and Arkadina (Mikaela Barocio) and Arkadina and Trigorin (Samuel Petersen).  Barocio was particularly delightful to watch, dominating her scenes with her flamboyance, drawling voice, and broad gestures.  Gacula, as her insecure and depressed son, sobbed so convincingly that the audience nearly joined in, while Amor, who portrayed the young aspiring actress Nina, was touchingly vulnerable and naive and handled the transformation of her character in the last act with great maturity.  Petersen was enigmatic, managing to make Trigorin a sympathetic and fascinating character despite his selfishness in his behavior toward Nina.
Oliver Berliner, as the groundskeeper Shamrayev, and Monika Elmont, as his wife Polina, provided welcome comic relief, while Nick Freedson, as Arkadina’s elderly brother Sorin, portrayed old age convincingly and touchingly, in a manner that was at times humorous and at others poignant.
The production also featured Reno Behnken, Thanassis Tetradis, Carly Shiever, Ben Hilsberg, Angel Salas, and Claire Skelley.