The Internet Theater Magazine of Reviews, Features, Annotated Listings







Etcetera and
Short Term Listings


NYC Restaurants


New Jersey







Free Updates
Writing for Us

A CurtainUp Los Angeles Review
The Seagull

I am in mourning for my life!—Masha
Bill Brochtrup, Micheal McShane, Laura Wernette, Abby Wilde
(Photo by Karianne Flaathen)
This marvelous 2nd-opening line for Anton Chekhov's The Seagull is one of the theater's best and sets the tone for the production now done superbly by the Antaeus Company. It's serious, tragic and mocking, like the play itself.

No wonder when The Seagull debuted in St. Petersburg in 1896, the audience didn't know what to make of it. Mocking? Get outa town! The furious confused playwright left the theater during the second act with the audience's boos ringing in his ears. It took Konstantin Stanislavsky's brilliant and intuitive production in Moscow in 1898 to launch The Seagull on its high trajectory and with it a new way of writing for the theatwr.

The play takes place at Sorin's lake-side estate. The lake plays an integral part in it. Guest include the famed actress Arkadina (Laura Wernette); her 25-year-old son Konstantin, an aspiring writer (Antonio Jaramillo); young Nina, the neighbor's daughter (Abby Wilde); Shamrayev (Armin Shimerman) the estate agent; Paulina (Dawn Didawick), his wife; Masha (Joanna Strapp), his daughter; Trigorin (Bo Foxworth), a sophisticated writer and lover of Arkadina; Dorn (Kurtwood Smith), a doctor; Medvedenko (Bill Brochtrup), a schoolmaster; Yakov (Brian Abraham), The Maid (Janice Kent), servants; and, of course, Sorin himself (Micheal McShane), Arkadina's brother.

Directed by Andrew J. Traister, the production is classically done with exquisite costumes by A. Jeffrey Schoenberg that look as if they were imported from a grander theatre. The late Paul Schmidt's translation is simple and sounds contemporary.

Wernette's Arkadina with her affected but graceful airs and graces, interspersed with screaming when she loses her temper, is a treat. You believe the bored actress when she says she wishes she were in a hotel room with a new script to study.

As Sorin, McShane is full-voiced, bluff and hearty. Joanna Strapp's Masha is shrewd, hopeslessly bitter and uses her voice to great effect to shade the part with nuances.

As Trigorin, Bo Foxworth handles his lengthly monologues with naturalness and grace. He seems world-weary and yet stubbornly immersed in his writing. Shamrayev (Armin Shimmerman) drives every word home like a knife with a twist.

Abby Wilde is a young and wild Nina and Antonio Jaramillo a wretched striving Konstantin. It's really his story to tell or lose and the shocking ending comes as a surprise to all who thought this young man was too self-centered to do more than mope.

These people, the idle rich, loll around their country house with, fortunately for us and the playwright, nothing better to do than expound at length and in detail on precisely what it is that makes them unhappy. Only Arkadina affects gaiety and it is so much a part of her actresses' persona that it brings a smile as affected as she is.

The Seagull
Author: Anton Chekhov
Director: Andrew J. Traister
Cast: Arkadina (Gigi Bermingham/Laura Wernette), Sorin (Gregory Itzin/Micheal McShane), Konstantin Treplev (Joe Delafield/Antonio Jaramillo), Nina (Abby Wilde/Jules Willcox), Shamrayev (John Achorn/Armin Shimerman), Paulina (Dawn Didawick/Reba Waters), Masha (Avery Clyde/Joanna Strapp), Trigorin (Bo Foxworth/Adrian LaTourelle), Dorn (Kurtwood Smith/James Sutorius), Medvedenko (Bill Brochtrup/Patrick Wenk-Wolff), Yakov (Brian Abraham), Maid (Janice Kent/Bonnie Snyder).
When: Feb. 23-Apr. 15, 2012
Where: The Antaeus Company @ The Deaf West Theatre, 5112 Lankership Blvd., North Hollywood. Reservations: (818) 506-1983
Reviewed by Laura Hitchcock on March 1, 2012.
Subscribe to our FREE email updates with a note from editor Elyse Sommer about additions to the website -- with main page hot links to the latest features posted at our numerous locations. To subscribe, E-mail:
put SUBSCRIBE CURTAINUP EMAIL UPDATE in the subject line and your full name and email address in the body of the message -- if you can spare a minute, tell us how you came to CurtainUp and from what part of the country.

Visit Curtainup's Blog Annex
For a feed to reviews and features as they are posted add to your reader
Curtainup at Facebook . . . Curtainup at Twitter

Highlight one of the responses below and click "copy" or"CTRL+C"
  • I agree with the review of The Seagull
  • I disagree with the review of The Seagull
  • The review made me eager to see The Seagull
Click on the address link E-mail:
Paste the highlighted text into the subject line (CTRL+ V):

Feel free to add detailed comments in the body of the email. . .also the names and emails of any friends to whom you'd like us to forward a copy of this review.

Anything Goes Cast Recording Anything Goes Cast Recording
Our review of the show

Book Of Mormon MP4 Book of Mormon -CD
Our review of the show
< Slings & Arrows  cover of  new Blu-Ray cover
Slings & Arrows- view 1st episode free

Slings & Arrows  cover of  new Blu-Ray cover
Slings & Arrows- view 1st episode free


©Copyright 2012, Elyse Sommer.
Information from this site may not be reproduced in print or online without specific permission from