An eleven-strong cast will take one of Chekhov’s greatest plays, The Seagull, to the stage next week under the direction of second year Brasenose student and first time director Chloe Wicks. The play is a translation by Michael Frayn and has meta-theatre, love, loss, family and miscommunication at its core.
Bella Thomas plays the earnest actress Nina beautifully, while Laura Nakhla carries herself with the necessary arrogance required to pull off the ageing star Irina Arkadina. The interaction between Irina and Konstantin as she tries to steal the limelight during his play is well acted and realistic. Matt Gavan has shown his commitment to Stanislavsky’s Method acting by growing a beard. He is very watchable when speaking but his eyes looked glazed when listening to Konstantine, played endearingly by Henry Faber. Faber switches from excited to petulant to desperately in love with ease. His foot stomp as he tries to quiet his audience before his play, shouting “I’m going to start”, should be recognised by any student director trying to keep their cast in line.
The play is well performed with believable and mature acting. Although Trigorin said very little in the rehearsal, his interaction with Nina was the most powerful part of the Act, which is as it should be given their later relationship.
The play’s downfall is that of most student drama: it has a lot of pacing around when being still would hold audience attention so much more.