Monday, October 6, 2008

About The Seagull

If Playbill's weekly roundup is correct (and I'm sure it is), then I'm apparently pretty much alone among professional reviewers in my disappointment in the new production of The Seagull at the Walter Kerr Theatre. (Here's my review.)

But not entirely alone. I got this email from a young actor named Scott Witebsky, who wrote:

Thank you so much for an honest review of The Seagull. I saw the production the same night that a veteran theatre professional saw it. Afterwards we discussed that we both thought it was one of the worst Chekhov productions we have ever seen (a common opinion amongst many whom i've spoken to). Then Ben Brantley came out with his review...a review has never made me upset before in my life, even when unkind things have been said about me, but his review made me furious. I wrote an audience response to the NY Times, and unfortunately it did not get published online in the audience reviews. I felt like Brantley along with almost every other reviewer felt obligated to rave over the production since it did so well in London, and for the sake of "art" or something. I had to search to find a reason why they'd give it such glowing reviews.

Another detail to ponder over. Why did Konstantin put the chair in front of the door when it did nothing at the end of the play? First he locked the door, then he put an extremely light chair in front of it...and did not wedge it in the door handle. What was its purpose other than making Konstanin look like a dunce! For a production in which the details are being applauded, they sure overlooked way too many!

One last thing, this is what i've been telling everyone: You know a production of The Seagull is in bad shape when Yakov is one of the only interesting people to watch on stage.

Thanks for letting me rant.

Other opinions?

1 comment:

Ethan Stanislawski said...

Haven't seen it yet, but I think the comments on it doing well in London are a bit bogus. There have been plenty of shows that have done well in London that have been maligned in the Times. Ben Brantley isn't that Anglophilic (just a little).