Theatre@York launches season with Chekhov’s The Seagull

Theatre @ York returns to centre stage with the premiere of a new Canadian translation of Anton Chekhov’s classic drama The Seagull by playwright David Egan, a Harvard graduate of philosophy with a passion for theatre. Directed by professional actor and York University theatre graduate student David Matheson, the production opens Nov. 2 in the Joseph G. Green Studio Theatre at York University.

A bittersweet story of betrayal and unrequited love, The Seagull is the stuff of soap opera. In the languid atmosphere of a Russian country estate, a naive aspiring actress falls under the destructive spell of a jaded writer who is experimenting with human relationships and “has nothing better to do” than amuse himself at her expense. Described by critics as funny and sad, cool and passionate, The Seagull remains one of the most beloved and deeply moving plays in the theatrical repertoire.

“I love Chekhov’s work,” said Matheson. “This is the only one of his major works that I have not yet been able to explore in some capacity as either an actor or director.

The Seagull is also a very personal play for me. It very much reflects where I am artistically and emotionally. I turned 33 this summer, approximately the same age that Chekhov was when he wrote this piece. At this point in his life, he was in career transition from short story writer to playwright, just as I am moving from actor to director.”

From Halifax, Nova Scotia, Matheson has been a professional actor for the past 14 years. His performance credits include the Atlantic Theatre Festival, where he appeared in two productions of Chekhov directed by acclaimed director Michael Langham, Neptune Theatre, Theatre New Brunswick and numerous other companies in Atlantic Canada.

Right: Anton Chekhov

Matheson is the founder and first artistic director of the Halifax-based classical troupe Exodus Theatre, where his directing career began with a critically-acclaimed production of Julius Caesar in 1999. He is currently pursuing an MFA in directing at York University; The Seagull is his thesis project.

York’s production of The Seagull showcases the talents of the acting students in the Graduate Program in Theatre at York. The production is designed and constructed by the department’s undergraduate students, with set design by Mariana Salazar, lighting design by Kari Kokko and costume design by Laura Gardner.

The Seagull previews Sun. Oct. 31 and Mon. Nov. 1, opens Tues. Nov. 2 and runs through Sat. Nov. 6 in the Joseph G. Green Studio Theatre located on the Keele campus. Showtime is 7:30pm with matinees at 1pm on Wed. Nov. 3 and Fri. Nov. 5. Admission is $12, $8 for students & seniors and $5 group rate. The Sunday preview is a pay-what-you-can performance. The Monday preview is $5. For more information or to request tickets, call the box office: 416-736-5172, ext. 3 or visit the Theatre@York Web site.