If the Hope College Theatre Department has taught us anything this year, it is that they excel at performing sorrowful plays. Their newest production, “Seagull,” can best be described to the modern reader as “extreme sad boi hours.” The Russian play, written by Anton Chekov in 1895 does not leave the audience with a warm feeling in their stomach; the crowd on Sunday afternoon left quietly, still processing the sudden ending (which I will not spoil for you; that’s rude). The performance is set on Peter Sorin’s (played by Zach Pickle, ’22) plantation in 1930s Russia and follows 11 characters as they navigate disappointment, the desire to be loved and the detrimental need to create. Maxwell Lam (’20) plays Constantine, an aspiring playwright, as he deals with criticism from his mother Madame Irina (Megan Clark, ’19), an actress who thrives in the spotlight.
At the same time, Constantine is dealing with his love for Nina (Katrina Dykstra, ’19) as she searches for fame and recognition as an actress, being drawn toward the famous fiction writer Trigorin (Jose Angulo, ’19), who is involved with Madame Irina. Meanwhile, the audience is exposed to the complicated love affairs of the other characters, as Paulina (Sarah Wisser, ’22) navigates her rocky marriage to Shamrayev (Sam Joachim, ’22), their daughter Masha (Sofia Munoz, ’22) and her unrequited love for another character (I’m not going to tell you who; go see the show). Doctor Dorn, played by Jonny Loker (’19) and Medvedenko, the teacher (Riley Wilson, ’21) are tangled up in the web of love as well. In fact, the only character not involved in a romantic subplot of any kind is Yakov, played by Cameron Islami (’19), the servant on the Sorin estate. While the show has some spurs of comedic relief, it is undoubtedly a sad, depressing tale. The actors do a phenomenal job of connecting with the audience, making you hurt for Constantine when his mother scorns him, or for Medvedenko, whose love for Masha will never be returned. The acting is professional and entertaining, and the show itself is a pleasure to watch (yes, even the sad parts).
While the opening weekend for “Seagull” has passed, there’s still time to see this powerful play. “Seagull” will be open in the DeWitt Theater April 25-27 at 7:30 p.m. Admission is free for the public, so there’s really no reason not to come. This is one show you won’t want to miss!