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.
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 **.
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 (Nicholas 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).
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