‘The Seagull’ Comes To Cerritos


Courtesy of Jalil Rashid Norman

Thomas Cunningham, Konstatin Gavrilovich, and Melissa Ongko, Nina Mikhailovna, preparing for opening night. ‘The Seagull’ runs Feb. 23-24 and March 1-4.

Bianca Martinez

Anton Chekhov’s play, “The Seagull” flew its way into the Cerritos College’s Burnight Studio Theatre, which premiered on Feb. 23.

Director Brandt Reiter introduced the 20th century onto campus by incorporating contemporary songs that the audience may have found familiar, having the actors perform such songs as “Can’t Help Falling in Love” and “You’ve Got to Hide Your Love Away.”

Reiter says, “I think that when people hear Chekhov they think that they’re going to see some kind of outdated, anachronistic performance that has nothing to do with them and Chekhov […] and I thought for the audience here at the college that it would be important to clue them in,

“That there were watching something that while it might take place 125 years ago it’s absolutely contemporary in terms of what the characters think about, how they react to each other and that by using contemporary music it will give the audience a subconscious clue that these are people that are the same as them.”

“The Seagull” by Russian playwright Chekhov was written in 1893 and takes place in a country estate owned by one of the characters in Russia in 1907.

The play’s main theme is that of unrequited love, each character has an issue with love or life lost within the play.

Though the play was written 125 years ago, some audience members found that they could relate to the characters’ conflicts.

Jocelyn Rodriguez, anthropology major, was one that did, “I really enjoyed when Masha was drunk on the table and she was talking about, you know, getting married and forgetting about unrequited love.

“It was just really relatable as somebody that’s kind of been in that position of unrequited love, I mean I relate to her, you know, it was enjoyable to watch.”

Rodriguez gave her thoughts on the play and the performance, “Oh, I thought it was really good, I honestly wasn’t too sure what to expect I went in totally blind, I’ve never heard of the play before… The acting was really good though, I mean, I really appreciate it especially, you know, the accents. It was really believable, it was really realistic.”

Rodriguez’s only critique being that “there were periods of time where I couldn’t hear what they were saying but I think that was just more of a projection that like, you know, could have been fixed if they had microphones or if it was like a bigger stage or something like that.”

Thomas Cunningham, who played Treplov but who was referred to as Konstantin Gavrilovich for the majority of the performance, discussed his role, “He’s socially awkward and starving for love. You know ironically enough.

“I think every character in this play, they’re all woven in with some kind of faults that almost all of us have, it was frighteningly easy to get into the role of Treplov and I think most people find that to be so as well.”

Cunnigham went on to explain his favorite scene to act in, “It has to be between Arkadina, Treplov’s mother, and Treplov when they first have that kind of bonding moment in ever.”

Reiter shared his reasons for choosing “The Seagull,” “I think Chekhov is the great playwright of the 19-20th century and that his insight into human consciousness and his sympathy for humanity is really profound and I think it offers to the students here a chance to dig into these fully realized characters that seem absolutely real to me on the page.”

Reiter thought the performance “went very well.”

Reiter says, “the way I gauge a successful performance is I watch the and if the audience is generally still and with the play then it is going well and the audience was not,.

“You can always tell in theatre when something isn’t working on stage,” he added. “The entire audience starts to shuffle around and they start to cough and they start to look at the program and none of that was going on tonight which meant they were staying with the play.”

The production can be seen onstage from March 1-3 at 8 p.m. and March 4 at 2 p.m.