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In the dark, holding a rifle up to his chin, Trepleff is talking about the lives that «faded away having completed the life’s journey». That is how Mickey Solis whose character holds some secret truth starts the performance. He carries the burden of that mystery throughout the performance not letting off the gun, that in the final scene he will point into his chin for the last time. In between those two moments, János Szász creates a convincing reconstruction of the suicide history, that has remained a mystery ever since that unfortunate first night, in The Alexandrinsky Theater in 1896.
Фотография © 2009 Michael Lutch / American Repertory Theatre
Игра в карты
Робер Лепаж отказывается от технологий на фестивале Луминато в Торонто

After his flop of the performance by the lake, Trepleff withdraws and starts acting irrationally. His bizarre behavior is contagious: it draws in Nina (Molly Ward) and punk-like Masha (Nina Kassa) (costumes by David Zinn) to its orbit. Old Sorin (Jeremy Geid) and even Doctor Dorn (Thomas Derrah) start behaving inappropriately. In János Szász’s interpretation the inhabitants of Sorin’s estate are more artistic and eccentric compared to Arkadina (Karen MacDonald) and Trigorin (Brian Dykstra) who are Moscow natives that have just arrived to live in Sorin’s estate. At that very moment, Trepleff’s personality is divided along two lines of behavior: his creativity is enhanced by his destructiveness.

Фотография © 2009 Michael Lutch / American Repertory Theatre
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Life is waterlogged. The stage for Trepleff’s performance is located in some odd damp paraklesis with faded frescoes. All the characters are wearing an assortment of waterproof boots: ranging from knee high rubber boots to elegant rubber dress shoes, walking around splashing the water, which is leaking out of the ground. The themes of purification and revitalization are literally performed by the water-sprinklers. The return to the crystal clear water develops into a purifying ritual; its crisp freshness resurrects humanity to their personal chastity and purity; water acts as the universal physiological regulator here. It starts raining. Through the falling water the characters raise their voices, hold out their hands, but their passion does not fade – like static electricity, it charges the surrounding area where two years later it will thunder. Szász’s characters will not have their wishes granted by the water – it is just a temporary form of therapy for them.

Фотография © 2009 Michael Lutch / American Repertory Theatre
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Originally, water was just a motive to play and Nina childishly hops over the puddles. This is the first time that she is going along the backs of the chairs, which are set out to resemble the rows of chairs in the auditorium (stage designer Riccardo Hernandes). She is wearing a wing over her shoulder; later it will turn out to be part of her costume in the performance of her sweetheart Konstantin Trepleff. He holds her hand gently. Then he securely puts his hands around her waist while lingering her in the air, and sets her onto his shoulder, as if in a lyrical duet of intimate souls. Nina is beautiful and mysteriously supernatural when wearing a loose white robe she gets back onto the backs of the chairs to read the monologue of The World Soul. This lovely girl from next door – like a magnificent bird flashing by - turns out to be a real angel.

Фотография © 2009 Michael Lutch / American Repertory Theatre
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In the second act, Nina is still fragile and sensitive, but her tasteless badly picked clothes make her look like an awkward teen-ager. However, in the presence of Arkadina she is still lovely. Irina Nikolaevna Arkadina in flashy cheap bijouterie is aggressive and vulgar, a provincial “washed-out” star claiming with the pretence to look younger than her age. Her affair with Trigorin is as sexual and as vulgar as the scene of Nina’s seduction by Trigorin. His physical desires suddenly turn out to be much more than Nina’s Platonic allure.

The song «Sweet Child O' Mine» by a Los Angeles band «Guns N' Roses» starts the third act. Trepleff with angel wings on his back is performing the song standing on the top of the pyramid of suit-cases, using the gun as a musical instrument. «Parents young at heart» join him in the dance making it more and more perverse. The third act in Chekhov’s plays is always crucial. In his later plays that crucial point has a «collective» characteristic, like the fire in «The Three Sisters», the meeting at home in «Uncle Vanya» and the party during the haggling in «The Cherry Orchard». Szász activates the motive of the crucial point in «The Sea-Gull» through this quasi rock- bacchanalia. At this time, Trepleff is still able to find some balance, having hope for his future masterpiece.

Guns N' Roses - Sweet Child O' Mine Live In New York 1988
Arkadina. You envy him. There is nothing left for people with no talent and mighty pretensions to do, but to criticize those who are really gifted. I hope you enjoy the consolation it brings!
Trepleff. [With irony] Those who are really gifted, indeed! [Angrily] I am more clever than any of you, if it comes to that! [He tears the bandage off his head] You are the slaves of convention, you have seized the upper hand and now lay down as law everything that you do; everything else you smother and trample on. I refuse to accept your point of view, yours and his, I refuse!
Arkadina. That is the talk of a decadent!..
Треплев. Go back to your beloved stage and act in the miserable ditch-water plays you so much admire!
Arkadina. I have never acted in a play like that in my life. You couldn't even write the trashiest music-hall farce, you idle good-for-nothing!
Треплев. Miser!!
Arkadina. Shabby hobo!

In the fourth act Konstantin Trepleff is a professional writer and Nina earns her living as an actress. Trepleff – writer, Nina – actress: this couple rhymes with Trigorin and Arkadina even in the way they look. Trepleff is holding a laptop in his hands - it stands for Trigorin’s note-book. Nina is wearing a leather jacket in a vulgar style of Arkadina.

Arkadina gives her son Konstantin the uncut magazine with his story. Trigorin speaks with himas an equal. After two years apart, Konstantin suddenly realizes that symmetry.Sorin dies right on the stage. Trepleff covers Sorin’s face with a sheet and pulls the trigger in the darkness.

The eclectic style of Cambridge «The Sea-Gull» does not ruin the image of the performance. The stage rhythm and cohesiveness of the performance created by Szász fills Chekhov’s poetics with modern energy. The recipe «a European director plus American actors» has worked.

Scenes from «The Sea-Gull». © American Repertory Theatre

P.P.S. by Mayia Pramatarova.

At the American Repertory Theater. Cambridge, USA. Video © Vladimir Gusev
к театру пространства и времени
Пятница, 15 Февраля 2019
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