The Seagull

A luxurious nine-month rehearsal period (!) gives such depth to Chekhov's populous ensemble piece, directed by John Langs, that its 13 characters seem to have known one another forever. At a lakeside estate, mother Arkadina (Julie Briskman) and son Konstantin (Brandon J. Simmons) gather with their respective paramours—famous writer Trigorin (John Bogar) and aspiring actress Nina (Alexandra Tavares)—and other visitors for the premiere of Konstantin's latest play. Leave it to breezily narcissistic Arkadina to eviscerate her kid with cruel dismissals and creepy reconciliations. Tavares, older than the traditional Nina, brings the role a flickering, appropriately unstable magic. In the world of The Seagull, nearly as capricious as that of A Midsummer Night's Dream, everyone loves someone who doesn't love them back. The otherwise pellucid show does get muddy in the final encounter between Nina and Konstantin, but the Sorin estate is a place we can barely bear to leave. Then, all too abruptly, Chekhov kicks us out. (Runs Thurs.-Sun.; see website for exact schedule. Ends Feb. 10.) MARGARET FRIEDMAN

Tue., Jan. 22; Wed., Jan. 23; Thursdays-Sundays. Starts: Jan. 22. Continues through Feb. 10, 2013

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