I’ll admit it. When I hear the name Chekhov, the first words that pop into my head are dull, somber, and talky. That’s why it’s such a pleasure to report that the Antaeus Company’s revival of Anton Chekhov’s The Seagull not only held my attention virtually throughout, it actually had me laughing more times than I could count.
Steven Stanley – StageSceneLA
Antaeus Company’s account of “The Seagull” (written in 1895), in a translation by Paul Schmidt, is incisively interpreted by director Andrew J. Traister and an accomplished ensemble in a stylish production brimming with intelligence and resonance.
Les Spindle – Backstage
But the translation by Paul Schmidt is thoroughly clear and sharp for contemporary audiences without sounding trendy, and the staging by Andrew J. Traister hits most of the comedy and the melancholy simultaneously – which is ideal for Chekhov.
Don Shirley – LA Stage Watch
Under Andrew Traister’s subtle direction, however, this play in which nothing much seems to happen is endlessly fascinating. Packed with emotional undercurrents and ravishing conversation, The Seagull is as relevant now as it was in 1895, when it was written.
Cynthia Citron – LA Examiner
Known for mounting classic theatre with a professionalism like no other in Los Angeles, the Antaeus Company once again proves its integrity and much appreciated artistry in their newest production of The Seagull currently on stage in NoHo through April 15.
Don Grigware – Grigware Blogspot
This marvelous 2nd-opening line for Anton Chekhov’s The Seagull is one of the theater’s best and sets the tone for the production now done superbly by the Antaeus Company.
Laura Hitchcock – CurtainUp
It wasn’t until Bo Foxworth uttered his first lines that I figured out what was lacking. The actors were laboriously acting. The result was loud, sometimes high-pitched voices, and forced, often overdone characterizations. The consequence was that the play didn’t have the grace, elegance and style which Chekhov so nobly deserves.
Carol Jean Delmar – Opera Theater Ink
But it’s the fresh take on characters — Joanna Strapp’s pungent Másha, coarsened by her unrequited love for Tréplev, is particularly revitalizing — that makes this production as absorbing as it is. Humanity is the puzzle that is never solved, and the longer I spent with these incarnations of Tréplev, Trigórin and Nína, the more fascinated I became by their mystery.
Charles McNulty – LA Times
In this double-cast Antaeus Company production, shrewd director Andrew J. Traister strikes Chekhovian gold with one cast and makes less layered choices with the other.
Amy Lyons – LA Weekly
While Paul Schmidt’s translation is funnier and less stodgy than previous adaptations, director Andrew J. Traister’s leadership is so bereft of vision and risk-taking that the entire evening just sits there like the titular bird, recently stuffed by a taxidermist.
Tony Frankel – Stage and Cinema
But it is the humanity and quiet poignancy with which Antaeus underscores and searches for the truth that sets it apart from other forays into the classics.
Radomir Luza – North Hollywood-Toluca Lake Patch
Anton Chekhov famously contended that his plays were meant to be comedies, albeit perhaps with a tinge of melancholy in their makeup. Regardless of this authorial intent, productions of his work over the last century have tended toward the languorous and dour. The Antaeus Company, one of the finest and most knowledgeable theatre troupes in town, has unfortunately taken this path with their new presentation of The Seagull. Antaeus always double-casts its shows, so my review is of the “Samovars” cast only.
Terry Morgan – LAist
Andrew J. Traister has found the perfect balance between the droll and the dreary in his production. “The Seagull” is at once extremely funny and intensely depressing. Which, come to think of it, is pretty much the same thing one could say about life itself.
Marianne Fritz – LifeInLA
My recommendation is to go see this for the actors, for a fine bunch they are.
David Maurer – Culture Spot LA
Overall, this is a show well worth your time.
Sam Kellett – Buzzine
The company is excellent (with the likes of Clyde, Bermingham and Gregory Itzin), but the perception of actors working at being characters seldom lifts.
Steven Leigh Morris – LA Weekly
Antaeus, the remarkable classical theatre company located in North Hollywood, has done it again. The company has been able to produce a first- rate production of the play using their trademark double casting.
Robert Machray – Blog Critics
Whatever night you choose to see this fine production will leave you wanting more as the casts are now in a “mix-n-match” mode. Seeing the show two nights in a row, with 99% different casts, assured this viewer that this is a capital way to see Chekhov.
Dale Reynolds – Stagehappenings
Chekhov’s masterpieces are notoriously difficult to pull off, and this latest gem from Antaeus is cause for celebration.
Christopher Cappiello – Frontiers
In a memorable production of Chekhov’s The Seagull, presented by the Antaeus Company, a marvelous ensemble of classical actors based in LA, director Andrew J. Traister captures the brilliance and realism of Chekhov’s rendition of the plight of humanity.
Hoyt Hilsman – Huffington Post
If you’ve never experienced Chekhov on stage, you could find no better introduction to one of the theater’s greatest voices than this production, for Traister and Schmidt have not placed on stage a museum piece, but a great drama full of immediacy and relevancy for any audience.
Ernest Kearney – Working Author
But, seeing how many possibilities were left unexplored, this production is exasperatingly ordinary. At this point, The Seagull deserves better. It has received better.
Harvey Perr – Stage and Cinema
Although they do mostly everything by the book, they do such an extraordinary job at it, it makes me wonder why people try to do it any differently.
Philip Kelly – MadTheatrics
The Antaeus Company
At Deaf West Theatre
5112 Lankershim Blvd., North Hollywood
Through April 15, 2012; Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays at 8:00. Sundays at 2:00
All roles double cast; see website for casts
Tickets: $30-$34; (818) 506-1983
Running time: 2 hours, 20 minutes
Filed Under: LemonMeter
About the Author: We don’t “review” shows here at the Lemon, rather we "review" reviews by gathering them from a variety of local review sites around the internet, judging them to be positive or negative, then forming an aggregate score that we call a LEMONMETER RATING, showing how well that show has been reviewed in total. For more detail on how the LemonMeter works visit here.