Matt White“Listen, Ibsen is no playwright… Ibsen just doesn’t know life. In life it simply isn’t like that.”Anton Chekhov

You do not need to invent far-fetched scenarios to capture life onstage. Just keep your ears and eyes piqued for the little dramas that fill our lives. Life is lived in fragments. Chekhov’s modern masterpiece, The Seagull, is filled with these little scenarios that reveal characters living big lives. Big emotions. Big dreams. Characters speak of love and art the way people today speak about climate change. Passionately. On the razor’s edge. And it is all very funny. Chekhov insisted the play is a comedy and I am focusing on pushing these little dramas, mining them for as much comic gold as the company can find.

The play is given a Canadian contemporary re-contextualization filled with references to Uber, Atwood, and vaping. While these details are updated his observations of idiosyncrasies we might not be proud of — the obsessions that distract us from making actual connections with one another — feel just as true and accurate today as they did over 100 years ago. Chekhov explores the desperate measures people will go to for love, for acceptance, and for survival, while also demonstrating the unrealistic expectations people place on each other to give them meaning. In The Seagull, there are no pills to take to make life worth living. You simply keep going. Or you don’t. 

People like to assert on social media platforms that “the kids are alright,” but Chekhov would probably add:

                                                                    (Shrugging shoulders) ...maybe. -Matt White