Listen to "Talk Theatre In Chicago" for an interview with Robert Falls, Artistic Director of the Goodman Theatre and the director of Chekov's The Seagull.
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The Seagull

Goodman Theatre
170 N. Dearborn Street Chicago

Goodman Artistic Director Robert Falls directs an intimate new production of Chekhov’s masterwork The Seagull, whose unforgettable characters reveal the passion and pathos of everyday life. When famed actress Irina visits her family with her young lover Trigorin in tow, they become ensnared in a tragicomic tangle of romance, intrigue and unrequited love. Don’t miss this unique opportunity to experience this 19th century masterpiece, interpreted by one of America’s outstanding directors—in the Owen Theatre.

Listen to "Talk Theatre In Chicago" for an interview with Robert Falls, Artistic Director of the Goodman Theatre and the director of Chekov's The Seagull.
Listen

Thru - Nov 21, 2010



Price: $10-$45

Stage: Owen Theatre

Show Type: Drama

Box Office: 312-443-3800

Running Time: 2hrs 55mins; one intermission

www.goodmantheatre.org


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  The Seagull Reviews

Chicago Tribune - Recommended

"...Part of the aim here was to inject a sense of living, breathing spontaneity to the proceedings. That sense of the live and the personally dangerous is always present, and it makes this show well worth seeing, especially for those fascinated by this director's personal journey though a play rife with references to art, theater, power and ripping things up and starting again. You shouldn't miss the subtext. Consciously or not, Falls ends up riffing on the ups and downs of his own long and turbulent career running the biggest theater in the Second City. Heck, “The Seagull” even has a big lake as a tricky creative muse for all these artist-strivers with their neuroses, terrors and achievements."
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Chris Jones


Chicago Sun Times - Highly Recommended

"...The play's three-hour running time races by despite the seductively natural pace of the production's overall tempo. And if you leave the Goodman thinking you have just caught a new play, well, that is an ideal indication of just how remarkable this "Seagull" happens to be."
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Hedy Weiss


Chicago Reader - Recommended

"...These machinations are sad and ludicrous at the same time—which is exactly what makes them affecting and true. Falls's cast expertly captures the paradox, as when Francis Guinan's sweet, doddering Sorin lists his failures and nobody listens but Scott Jaeck's Dorn, who laughs. Or when Cliff Chamberlain's Trigorin asks Mary Beth Fisher's Arkadina to let him pursue Nina and Fisher responds with a display of desperation that turns groveling into a form of aggression. The constant sense of cross-purposes is nowhere more poignant than in the vulnerable, openhearted performances of Stephen Louis Grush and Heather Wood as Konstantin and Nina, who as the characters with the most illusions at the beginning suffer more than anyone else by the end. Of the two, only one develops the strength to go on."
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Zac Thompson


NewCity Chicago - Highly Recommended

"...Falls, who has a reputation these past few years for staging big, over-the-top productions, has let it be known that this was to be a major shift for him and it certainly is, though he is not one to let simplicity rule him. Instead, he dove into a study of Stanislavsky’s legendary staging of “The Seagull” (its earlier premiere had been botched by underrehearsed actors and was greeted with laughter), which led Falls to his actor-intensive approach. In addition to Fisher and Grush, notable performances by Steppenwolf treasure Francis Guinan as Sorin (making his Goodman debut!) and Steve Pickering and Janet Ulrich Brooks as husband-and-wife Shamrayev and Polina highlight an ensemble of uniform vigor and quality."
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Brian Hieggelke


Windy City Times - Highly Recommended

"...Performance demands the labor of both performers and audience, making a production with no down time or throwaway speeches strenuous work, no matter what your part in its execution. The experience is well worth the effort, however, with the intimacy generated by this spartan approach illuminating the smallest secrets hidden beneath the surface of the most self-effacing personalities. Kelly O'Sullivan and Mary Beth Fisher may steal the show as, respectively, the forthright Masha and brassy Irina, but look for Francis Guinan and Janet Ulrich Brooks to give the often-ignored Sorin and Polina their moments in the light, too. Indeed, repeat viewings are advised, so densely layered are the multiple dimensions in this powerful interpretation of a familiar classroom-classic."
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Mary Shen Barnidge


Copley News Service - Highly Recommended

"...        But prospective audiences should take heart. This is a stunning revival, a chance-taking staging of the drama filled with superb performances that illuminate and entertain and even amuse. It’s certainly the best “Seagull” and one of the best Chekhov revivals I’ve ever seen."

Dan Zeff


Talkin Broadway - Highly Recommended

"...Falls has also adapted his own script, from a translation by George Calderon. His language sounds mostly contemporary, but with a certain formality of tone that suggests late 19th century aristocracy. It makes the piece more accessible, but I could have done without a few of the current overused expressions (like "I get that" meaning "I understand," or "end of story.") These catch-phrases are irritating enough in everyday life without imposing them on Chekhov. His use of timelessness in the costumes by Ana Kuzmanic is more effective, with her designs employing a mix of earthy looks from today as well the turn of the last century."
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John Olson


Centerstage - Recommended

"...Chekov's masterpiece contains a great deal of talk about love and about art; taken too seriously, the play has the potential to turn into melodrama or pedantry. Happily, Robert Falls's robust, intelligent direction reveals "The Seagull" as an exploration of the terrible selfishness that marks both romantic love and artistic ambition. As the weeks and years following Konstantin's disastrous play pass, we watch Arkadina and her circle fail each other repeatedly. Mother undermines son; lover betrays beloved; doctor mocks patient; wife scorns husband. If this makes the show sound like a long string of cringes and winces, it shouldn't; the characters are so well-drawn and the cast members so talented that they elicit deep sympathy. These selfish, destructive people are also loving, yearning people. As they repeatedly assert, they don't mean any of the harm they do."

Laura Kolb


Chicago Stage Review - Somewhat Recommended

"...In the Goodman Theatre’s current production of Chekhov’s The Seagull, Director Robert Falls re-approaches this classic with a minimalist sensibility that strips away the conventional trappings, focuses on the script and highlights the characters. While this departure from a visually representational depiction does shine more attention on the performances, Falls’s production lacks the emotional connection to the characters to sustain itself. He compiles a staggering congregation of some of Chicago’s finest stage actors, each delivering excellent individual performances, but the result is more dramatically attractive than it is emotionally evocative."
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Venus Zarris


Time Out Chicago - Highly Recommended

"...A splendid cast keeps the eddies of Chekhov’s conversation swirling. Grush and Chamberlain render their dueling writers crisply; the center of this staging, though, is Mary Beth Fisher’s incandescent, monstrous Arkadina, the aging actress ready to slaughter the generation after her to ensure a continuing spotlight. Falls’s exploratory approach leads to some stunning moments, but a tighter directorial hand could avert some weak spots; there’s a bit too much drifting about when the full cast’s onstage, and Wood’s Nina stays too ethereal for her final scene to have its full weight. Still, this is the kind of production that aims to be talked about for years, and with a week or two more to jell, it just might get there."
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John Beer


ShowBizChicago - Recommended

"...The real star, and reason to see this production, is the direction. “The Seagull,” as Falls says, is at its core a play about art. His production is the culmination of not just two years of work, but a career studying relationships and navigating the intricacies of a life in the theatre. This is exceptional direction, guided by personal experience and passion."
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Dan Jakes


Chicago Theater Beat - Highly Recommended

"...With The Seagull, Robert Falls makes a stunning 180-degree swerve from the massive, nearly operatic productions he’s staged over the past few years. If King Lear and Desire Under the Elms were thundering landslides of theatricality, The Seagull is a lone, perfect pebble. Which isn’t to say Falls’ take on Anton Chekhov’s ground-breaking masterpiece lacks the gob-smacking emotional heft of his overtly showier efforts. Far from it. Played by actors in minimal costumes on a bare stage, The Seagull is as thrilling a production as you’re apt to see this season – an example of storytelling at its most powerful. That Falls manages to enthrall without the help of conventional costumes, sets or even lighting design illustrates just how gifted the Goodman’s Artistic Director is."

Catey Sullivan


ChicagoCritic - Highly Recommended

"...The Seagull is a major theatrical experience not to be missed. It is filled with a cast so absorbed into their characters that the play unfolds with powerful realism. Chehkov and Stanislavsky would appreciate this production, I know I did."
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Tom Williams


Chicago Stage Standard - Recommended

"...Even more than Chekhov, Falls isolates the characters so that they seem to give up before their time. Cliff Chamberlain’s obsessed writer necessarily sinks into Trigorin’s notebook, even and especially when he should seem drawn toward Nina. Too intense not to sputter out, Heather Wood's neurasthenic Nina seems a moth in love with fire, a marked soul who confirms her fate the more she fights it--but Nina's resistance is her only dignity. Wood, a real find, is wonderful throughout and actually lets us measure ourselves against her misery rather than watch it with condescending complacency."

Lawrence Bommer


Around The Town Chicago - Highly Recommended

"...Thanks to this solid cast and its director, we are allowed to inhale what it was that Chekhov was trying to tell us. Instead of staring at the set and costumes, we are listening to the playwrights words and watching this astounding cast make these characters come alive. This is what theater is all about and the Goodman may be on to something that others can learn from."
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Alan Bresloff


   This show has been Jeff Recommended*

*The designation of "Jeff Recommended" is given to a production when at least ONE ELEMENT of the show was deemed outstanding by the opening night judges of The Joseph Jefferson Awards Committee. The entire production is then eligible for nomination for awards at the end of the season.
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