The Seagull

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The Seagull, (Russian: Чайка, Chayka) is a play by Anton Chekhov (1860-1904).

The original text

Written in 1895, it was first produced and failed at the Alexandrinsky Theatre, St Petersburg in 1896. 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, the play has had a vast influence on world theatre.

Translated into English by Elisaveta Fen.

Translated into Afrikaans as Die Seemeeu by André P. Brink. Published by Human & Rousseau, c1972 as Die seemeeu : 'n komedie in vier bedrywe

See also Die Eend, an adaptation by Charles Fourie and Reza de Wet's play On the Lake, inspired by the Chekhov work.

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: Play used for the opening performance in the Little Theatre, Cape Town, directed by W.A. Sewell with students and staff of the South African College of Music on 18 August 1931.

1941: Performed by The Johannesburg Reps starring Taubie Kushlick.

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.

1982: Performed at the Glass Theatre, Cape Town, directed by Chris Pretorius.

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: 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.


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).

BooksLive, 15 September 2015[1]

Tucker, 1997.

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