I Am a Seagull: v. I

Welcome to week 1 of rehearsals for The Seagull by Anton Chekhov at Antaeus Company. This is the week when we sit around a table, comb through the script and discuss the text, structure, historical background and cultural significance of the play. Some may call it hell-week because the actors are forced to stay off their feet and keep their head in the script – one doesn’t become an actor to sit behind a desk, right? However, for THIS classical actor “tablework” is a blast! I can’t wait to get to rehearsal everyday with our director Andrew Traister and this lively group of actors who are ready to dissect and debate every word of the script.

Why do tablework? The Seagull was written in 1895 in Russia, so for me playing Nina it’s important to figure out what’s going on in this play as it pertains to a provincial girl in pre-revolutionary Russia. The play spans over 2 years, so we also have to chart the logistical timeline of the play and the emotional arcs of the characters. This is my first time working on a play by Anton Chekhov outside of classwork. Thankfully, I’m working with a team of seasoned pros who lend a ton of experience and insight to the project. Working together gives us chance to get on the same page before we hit the stage.

Another amazing benefit of working on this play at Antaeus that I get to share the role with the amazing Abby Wilde! The Antaeus Theatre Company has a unique double casting policy. Each role is played by 2 equally talented and fabulous actors in alternating performances. Our company is comprised of working actors so we are often called away to audition or to a TV or film shoot (in fact you’ll usually see at least one recognizable face from the telly in an Antaeus production). Double casting allows us to take the big bucks jobs while also working on iconic roles in theatrical masterpieces. If you are called away, your double is always there to take on that night’s performance. Not a bad deal, huh? The best part is that Abby and I get to bounce ideas off of one another, be mirrors for each other and, of course, steal each other’s good bits;) They say imitation is the best form of flattery.

Next week we’ll get on our feet, so there will be even more to share! Until then, I will leave you with a passage written in a letter by Anton Chekov as he was starting to write The Seagull:

I am writing a play which I shall probably not finish before the end of November. I am writing it not without pleasure, though I swear fearfully at the conventions of the stage. It’s a comedy, there are three women’s parts, six men’s, four acts, landscapes (view over a lake); a great deal of conversation about literature, little action, tons of love.

Hopefully this gives you a better idea of what this play is about and why we still love to read it, act in it and see it over 115 years later. Tons of Love.

Antaeus Member, Jules Willcox, shares her experiences working on our production of The Seagull. This is the first installment. For tickets, visit www.antaeus.org

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Seagull Cast Announcement!

Here at Antaeus, we are privileged to have a truly exceptional collective of actors.  It makes casting our projects an absolute joy.  So it is with great pleasure that we announce to all of you our casts for our 2012 production of The Seagull:

 

ARKADINA  Gigi Bermingham & Laura Wernette

SORIN:   Gregory Itzin & Micheal McShane

TREPLEV:  Joe Delafield & Antonio Jaramillo

NINA:  Jules Willcox & Abby Wilde

SHAMRAYEV:  John Achorn & Armin Shimerman

PAULINA:  Dawn Didawick & Reba Waters

MASHA:  Avery Clyde & Joanna Strapp

TRIGORIN:  Bo Foxworth & Adrian LaTourelle

DORN:  Kurtwood Smith & James Sutorius

MEDVEDENKO:  Bill Brochtrup & Patrick Wenk-Wolff

YAKOV:  Brian Abraham

COOK/HOUSEMAID:  Janice Kent & Bonnie Snyder

In other Seagull news, we will soon be featuring a new series on our blog entitled “I Am a Seagull,” in which actress Jules Willcox will share her experiences and views of the rehearsal process and performances.

Until next time.