When I read Anton Chekhov’s - The Seagull, I was very eager to enact this classic drama that deals with rejected love, broken trust, romantic triangles, restlessness, frustration, betrayal, and struggle for fame. This drama depicts the conflict between hope that keeps man going in all kinds of difficulties and the same hope that at times is futile and prevents a person from moving on. This drama is a blend of the contrasts in life! It is this portrayal of life that I found endearing in the play and I read it several times. When I first read the book, I did not get out of my bed until I finished reading the whole play. The suicide of Kostya (Konstantin Treplyov) at the end of the play was really tragic! The one thing that I learnt from Kostya’s character is that mere “ideals” are not enough it is only when our ideals have a touch of reality that we can use them to battle all challenges and survive all hardships!
In the play Nina’s character angered me as she rejected Kostya, who was truly in love with her and was dedicated to her till the end! Nina chose Trigorin - a well-known writer, who loved Madame Arkadina, Kostya’s mother! Nina married Trigorin and faced the worst days in her life as her husband abandoned her for his former love Arkadina. Kostya, in turn, never realized an unrequited love Masha had for him! Masha despite getting married to someone else, always had love and concern for Kostya, which she never disclosed to him as she was aware that Kostya loved Nina immensely! At the end of the play Nina talked to Kostya and told him that she was forced to tour with a second-rate theatre company after the death of the child she had with Trigorin. And as she talked to Kostya she got a new confidence in herself. She compared herself to “The Seagull”, the bird Kostya would have killed long ago. Kostya begged Nina to stay with him but she was in such awful confusion that his request meant nothing to her, and she just slipped out quietly from his room. At the end of the play when Chekov describes how Kostya started tearing up his manuscript and shot himself, my eyes welled up with tears!
This is the best written play on a touching love story and a person’s tragic quest for his love! This play is so true to life and so full of real emotions that the actor in me was fascinated by it. I got the much desired opportunity to enact this play when I was 22 years old.
Author: Shilpa C Nangali