Reviews & Previews

Theatre previews: The Seagull, The Walnut Tree

Danielle Desormeaux, Michel Perron, Diane D'Aquila, Lucy Peacock, Marcel Jeannin, Krista Colosimo, Patrick McManus (Photo Andrée Lanthier)

Danielle Desormeaux, Michel Perron, Diane D’Aquila, Lucy Peacock, Marcel Jeannin, Krista Colosimo, Patrick McManus (Photo Andrée Lanthier)

The Seagull

Anton Chekov’s The Seagull is among the most influential plays in modern drama. Yet it had such a terrible reception on opening night that Chekov fled backstage to escape all the booing and jeering.

“I shall never forget last evening,” he recalled the next day. “I shall never have that play produced in Moscow, ever.”

The audience had been expecting a comedy. But also, it was a groundbreaking way of telling the story, flouting the dramatic conventions of the time.

The plot is not external but rather embedded in and inferred from conversations on stage.

“Things on stage should be as complicated and yet as simple as in life,” Chekov said.

Award-winning playwright and director Peter Hinton presents a fresh interpretation of this timeless work, until February 16 at the Segal Centre. 514-739-7944, segalcentre.org.

The Walnut Tree

Persephone Productions was created to provide John Abbott drama students with professional work opportunities at the dawn of their careers.

In a joyful changing of the guard, founder and former artistic director Gabrielle Soskin plays the lead in The Walnut Tree, directed by John Abbott graduate Christopher Moore, the company’s new artistic director.

Adapted by Geoffrey Ursell from a book by Martha Blum, the play tells the story of a young woman who escapes the horrors of the Second World War by moving to Canada.

“The story reflects our ability to adapt, to go forward and to embrace change and new futures,” Moore says.

“It is a lesson in hope, grace and forgiveness.”

At Centre Culturel Calixa Lavallée in Parc Lafontaine. February 20 to March 8. 1-866-967-8167, persephoneproductions.org.

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