The original text
Written as Чайка (Chayka in the Roman alphabet) in 1895, it was first produced at the Alexandrinsky Theatre, St Petersburg in 1896, but failed . Revived and a success when performed by the Moscow Art Theatre a while later. It is generally considered to be the first of his four major plays.
Translations and adaptations
Widely translated and adapted for the stage, Film and TV, the play has had a vast influence on world theatre.
Translated into English as The Seagull by Elisaveta Fen.
South African stage versions
South African film & TV versions
Die Seemeeu (2018): Saartjie Botha's 2015 stage version was adapted as an Afrikaans film by Christiaan Olwagen and Saartjie Botha, and transposed to South Africa in the 1990's. The film was directed by Christiaan Olwagen, with a cast that includes Sandra Prinsloo (Irene), Marius Weyers (Piet), Albert Pretorius (Konstant), Rolanda Marais(Nina), Cintaine Schutte (Masha), Gerben Kamper (Dr. Eugene), Deon Lotz (Elias), Martelize Kolver (Paulina), Geon Nel (Simon) and Alyzzander Fourie (Boors), Bennie Michaels (Jakob) and Margie Michaels (Anna).
Produced by Marche Media and producers Jan du Plessis, Karen Meiring, Jaco Smit, Roelof Storm, Anneke Villet and Kaye Ann Williams. Music by Charl-Johan Lingenfelder, cinematography by Chris Vermaak, film editing and script supervision by Eva du Preez, production design by Rocco Pool
Set Decoration by
Costume Design by
Jaco Nothnagel ... production manager Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Beer Adriaanse ... second second assistant director Jaco Smit ... first assistant director Elle Wolfaardt ... second assistant director Sound Department
Michael Broomberg ... foley artist Jade Hill ... foley artist David Houston ... adr recordist / assistant re-recording mixer James Olivier ... sound designer / sound effects editor Simon Ratcliffe ... sound supervisor Carl Roberts ... foley recordist (as Carl Robert) Jack Van Wyk ... sound editor Louw Verwoerd ... sound mixer Richard West ... dialogue mixer / re-recording mixer / supervising sound editor Camera and Electrical Department
Chris Vermaak ... a camera/steadicam operator Editorial Department
Dwaine de Faria ... on-line editor / post-production supervisor Matthys Pretorius ... colorist Music Department
Charl-Johan Lingenfelder ... musical director Simon Ratcliffe ... score engineer / scoring mixer Script and Continuity Department
Eva Du Preez ... script supervisor (as Eva du Preez) Other crew
Ludwig Binge ... cast stand-in Rebekah Louisa Smith
Performance history in South Africa
The play has been performed numerous times in South Africa, in translation and in adapted form.
Performances in English translation
First South African performance in 19** by **.
1931: This was the play used for the opening performance in the Little Theatre, Cape Town, presented by the Little Theatre Players, directed by Arthur Sewell with students and staff of the South African College of Music on 18 August 1931.
1945: Performed at the Standard Theatre, Johannesburg. Produced by Margaret Lassner for the Johannesburg Repertory Society, with Taubie Kushlick, Rognvald Gibsen, David Goldblatt, Christina Jaures, Fred Loehnen, Jocelyn de Bruyn, Norman Torry.
1976: Performed by The Company, directed by Barney Simon, for the “unofficial opening” of the Market Theatre on 21 June (using the small theatre Upstairs at the Market), with Erica Rogers, Vanessa Cooke, Sandra Prinsloo, Bill Brewer, Marius Weyers, Danny Keogh, Lindsay Reardon and Bess Finney.
1987: Performed by CAPAB at the Nico Malan Theatre, directed and designed by Marthinus Basson, assisted as director by Mark Hoeben. Lighting by Malcolm Hurrell. The cast: Diane Wilson (Arkadina), Lionel Newton (Trepliov), Paul Malherbe (Sorin), Pauline O'Kelly (Zaryechnaia), Ronald France (Shamrayev), Mary Dreyer (Polena Andryeevna), Claire Berlein (Masha), David Dennis (Trigorin), André Roothman (Dorn), Mark Graham (Medviedenko), Mark Hoeben (Yakov) and others. The production opened on 22 May 1987.
1990: Presented by PACT Drama at the Windybrow Theatre and the State Theatre, directed by Ilse van Hemert starring Sandra Prinsloo (Arkadina}, Christopher Wells (Trepliov}, Michael McCabe (Sorin), Embeth Davidtz (Zaryechnaia), Dale Cutts (Shamrayev), Jacqui Singer (Polena Andreevna), Anna-Mart van der Merwe (Masha), Graham Hopkins (Trigorin), James Borthwick (Dorn), Peter Terry (Medviedenko) and Nick Nortier-Ashby (a workman). Set and costume designer Lindy Roberts, lighting designer Jane Gosnell.
Performances in Afrikaans translation
1972: Performed by PACT in the Breytenbach Theatre in August, directed by Robert Mohr with Wilna Snyman, Don Lamprecht, Carel Trichardt, Sandra Prinsloo, Wilma Stockenström, Katinka Heyns, Marius Weyers, Louis van Niekerk, Marko van der Colff, David Eppel, Karin van Wyk and George Ballot. Decor by Richard Cook and costumes by Tom Owen.
1996: Performed by the University of Stellenbosch Drama Department at the H.B. Thom Theatre in November 1996, directed by Shirley Johnston, starring Nicole Holm, Nico Dreyer, Paul du Toit, Leanna Dreyer, Paul van Wyk, Keith Bain, Martelize Kolver, Amelda Brand, Gaerin Hauptfleisch, Jaco Bouwer, Hugo Theart, Albert Snyman.
2015: An adapted text by Saartjie Botha, produced in Afrikaans as Die Seemeeu, directed by Christiaan Olwagen, with Sandra Prinsloo, Marius Weyers, Gerben Kamper, Alyzzander Fourie, Deon Lotz, Rolanda Marais, Martelize Kolver, Albert Pretorius, Geon Nel and Cintaine Schutte. Designs by Birrie le Roux, lighting by Wolf Britz and music by Charl-Johan Lingenfelder. Opened at the Afrikaanse Woordfees in Stelllenbosch in March, and played at the Klein Karoo Nasionale Kunstefees in April, the Aardklop festival in July and the Baxter Theatre in October.
Inskip, 1972. pp 119, 154.
South African Opinion, 2(4):23, 1945.
PACT Newsletter, June 1972.
The Seagull theatre programmes 1987, 1990.
H.B. Thom Theatre programme, 1996
Baxter Theatre Centre: What's on in November? (Thursday, October 22, 2015).
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