Masquers take on Chekhov’s The Seagull

Olivia Donia / Staff Photographer Nate Zema as Trigorin and Colleen Hammond as Nina in The Seagull.
Olivia Donia / Staff Photographer
Nate Zema as Boris Alexyevich Trigorin and Colleen Hammond as Nina Michailovna Zarechnaya in The Seagull.

Claire Neiberg | Staff Writer


The Duquesne University Red Masquers began wrapping up the fall semester with the last full-length show, The Seagull.

The Seagull is a Russian play written by dramatist Anton Chekhov in 1885. It focuses on the struggle of producing art and focuses on several very different artists in the community. Irina Nikolayevna Akadina (Dana Demsko) is an actress; her son, Konstantine Gavrilovich Treolyev (Liviu Reynolds), is a playwright; and Boris Alexyevich Trigorin (Nathan Zema) is a writer. The play follows these characters, their families and lovers through a journey of artistic appreciation, unrequited love and symbolism.

The seagull itself symbolizes security at first. Nina Michailovna Zarechnaya (Colleen Hammond) uses it as a way to express her nostalgia of Sorin’s estate. It takes her back to her childhood and grounds her with her family and friends. In the second act, the symbolism changes as Konstantine kills a seagull and gives it to Nina. He does this to express his love for her and that he would die for her. Boris, however, destroyed the seagull expressing to Nina that he will destroy her as well. Finally, the seagull symbolizes the tragic ending of the play.

The greatest highlights of the production stemmed from the technical side of theatre. The set was simple, elegant and captured the time period perfectly. While there were no backdrops, there were decorations hanging from the ceiling as well as intricate lighting. The fairy lights gave the impression of night stars and added to the romantic feel of the show. The moving of sets went smoothly, and the production proved that keeping things simple was the best decision in this case. A few tables and chairs were all that was needed to portray a European country home.

The costumes added to the beauty of the stage picture as well. Each costume was crafted to represent the characters, and while none of them were extravagant, they still had significant meaning to the characters.

The only aspect of the show that fell short was the lack of action in the plot. It was somewhat dry and not something that would appeal to many college students, but if you are looking for traditional story of lost love, then this is a show for you.

Even without being attached to the storyline, I still appreciated the enthusiasm of the actors and especially their chemistry. There was more intimate romance in this production as opposed to the last two Masquers’ shows, and the cast nailed it. They were believable and never broke character once. Some of the actors were in previous shows as well, so it was interesting to see their abilities to play multiple roles with what looked like with ease from an audience member.

Overall, I highly recommend seeing The Seagull. There are aspects of it that would please any audience member, and it held compelling symbolism while delivering an entertaining production. If anything, it was worth attending the show to experience the quality of acting and the aesthetics.