A note from our director

Posted in Uncategorized on April 27th, 2011 by kellinewby

It is very exciting in these final weeks of rehearsal for The Seagull. At this point in the process I am constantly answering a million questions as director. I have the privileged of working with such awesome designers like Juliana, Vanessa, Jeff, and Mike; so on a daily basis I get to see new exciting set pieces, costume pieces, hear sound, talk about lighting, etc. It really feels like a collaborative process. I have to give a big thank you to my Assistant Director, David Sernick, not only has he worked with actors to pick apart beats and/or scenes in order to big deep and get the juice out of the fruits that Chekhov has laid bare; he showed me some amazing video that we are using for the multi-media affects for The Seagull. 

Early on we did a lot of table work, just sitting, reading the play, talking about the play, the world of the play, how it relates to our current time and era. We changed references to take it out of 19th Century Russia and make it 21st Century Berkshire County. Then we pushed really hard to make a sketch of the blocking. Just an outline of where an actor enters and exits, who they are talking to, where they are going and why. Then the real work began. For the last month after the play was “blocked” we worked and re-worked beats, scenes, sections, and eventually acts to find how every actor is relating to one another and reacting to the tension on stage. It is electrifying to watch rehearsals at this point in the process; I get my breathe taken away when certain characters just simply exit or enter because I can see why they are there or why they are leaving and what they are trying to accomplish. 

First and foremost, though, The Seagull is a character study of people who cannot see past the tip of their own nose. This character-based comedy is filled with the kind of awkward humor that always strikes home; the same kind of humor that makes TV shows like The Office so popular. Plus the play is infused with beautiful poetry and in-depth analyses of the human condition as only Chekhov can deliver them. Is it a comedy? A tragedy? Does a play written in 1895 Russia taking place in the countryside outside of Moscow relate to 21st century Western Mass? Answers: Yes, yes, and yes.