Wednesday, November 1, 2017

The Sea Gull coming to University of Puget Sound

By Alec Clayton
Costume design by Mishka Navarre, photo courtesy University of Puget Sound
The Drama Department at University of Puget Sound is offering South Sound audiences an opportunity to see a great classic play that is Seldom seen in our area, The Sea Gull, by Russian dramatist Anton Chekhov.
Written in 1895, The Sea Gull is a comedy that was considered revolutionary when first produced because up until then plays were expected to be predictable and melodramatic, not a complex comedic love story about a playwright who shoots a sea gull and presents it as a love token to a young woman, saying he will soon shoot himself.
Hanna R Brumley, dramaturg for this production, says, “The thematic and emotional reach of the play is broad and so there's a wide range of reasons why people like it, even within our crew, but some consistent attractions are: the complexity of the characters and relationships, the play is rich with different kinds of love and loss, the urgency of passing time and the need to live and love fully; it is an ensemble piece that requires a great deal of teamwork and trust, the comedy is based in sincerity and truth.”
The cast and crew for this production are all UPS students. Lead actors include Mattea Prison, who plays the role of Arkadina, Gabe Vergez as Trigorin, Brynn Allen as Nina, and Keegan Kyle playing the part of Treplev.
The scenic designer is Kurt Walls; lighting design is by Richard Moore; and the costume designer is Mishka Navarre.
The production is directed by Geoff Proehl. Proehl teaches, dramaturgs, and directs at UPS. He is the author of the study of American family drama, Coming Home Again: American Family Drama and The Figure of The Prodigal. Last year Literary Managers and Dramaturgs of the Americas awarded him the Lessing Award for Lifetime Achievement.
Explaining why he chose The Sea Gull, Proehl referred to his love for Wyoming and Montana. “The landscape opens the heart, soul, body, mind. You can see a thunderstorm coming toward you from fifty miles down the road, black clouds, lightning, then the thunder and the rain. There are just a few plays that are for me, as big as that. The Sea Gull with its stories of desperate love and longing and laughter is one of them. Few plays remind us more ferociously that time is passing and why that matters. No play reminds us with more honesty and compassion that life is short, terrible and wonderful.”
Proehl says, “I first directed this play at Puget Sound about twenty years ago with a wonderful cast and crew. It made a deep impression on all of us. Few plays speak more honestly and more compassionately about the shortness of life and the challenges of living with an open heart.”

The Sea Gull, 7:30 p.m. Oct. 27-28, Nov. 2-4 and 2 p.m. Nov. 4, Norton Clapp Theatre in Jones Hall, University of Puget Sound, tickets $11, $7 student, staff, military, seniors (55-plus, 1500 North Warner in Tacoma, 253.879.3100.

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