SAVE THE DATE
The Last Time I Saw Paris:
The City of Lights Meets Russian Soul
Bullitt Cabaret at ACT Theatre
Wednesday, December 7, 7 PM
Get tickets here
The Russians have always loved Paris, and who could blame them? For the December edition of our reading series, Seagull ensemble member Hannah Victoria Franklin has curated an evening of stories that look at the City of Lights through a distinctively Russian lens.
Join us for this evening of tales well told. As Chekhov would say, “If only the nights weren’t so cold and my soul so heavy, life could be as beautiful as it seems to be in Paris.”
ABOUT THE SERIES
Because we take 18 months or so to prepare our main stage productions, we want to give our audiences a taste of Chekhov in between productions. Happily, the work of Anton Chekhov spans more than the plays theater-goers have come to know so well.
A prolific writer, Chekhov produced dozens of short stories that further explore the issues and themes found in his plays. This themed reading series introduces audiences to these stories by Chekhov, as well as to the work of other writers whose work expands on the themes, ideas, and images found throughout Chekhov’s body of work.
The Great Soul of Russia reading series features performances by members of the Seagull ensemble, along with guest artists from all around the Seattle theater community. This series is produced in partnership with ACTLab at ACT — A Contemporary Theatre and takes place in the Bullitt Cabaret. Tickets are $15 for adults; $10 for students; and free to ACTPass holders.
Chaos Theory: When Things Fall Apart
Wednesday, September 7, 2016, 7 PM
The Greek philosopher Heraclitus famously said the only constant is change. It is the essence of the human condition, and it is the central theme of Chekhov’s The Cherry Orchard, which The Seagull Project will present in February 2017. We give you a hint of things to come with this selection of stories about the inevitability of change and the chaos it sometimes leaves in its wake.
Chaos Theory Curator Jean Sherrard brings together members of the Seagull ensemble and guest artists to read short works by Ray Bradbury, Joe Meno, Flannery O’Connor, and Chekhov himself. As Sherrard so eloquently notes, “At the heart of all our efforts to explain, to justify, to reveal, there spins a chaotic sun, hissing and spitting out random shapes and colors, which is a writer’s duty to capture and describe.”
Beyond the Pale: Jewish Voices from Russia and the New World
Wednesday, April 20, 2016, 7 PM
Established in the late 1700s, the Pale of Settlement was the isolated portion of the Russian Empire where Jews were forced to live in poverty, subject to constant discrimination and unprovoked violence. Their treatment in the great Russian literature of the 19th century mirrored these conditions, which regularly depicting Jews as weak, devious, and greedy. Chekhov viewed his Jewish countrymen with a more compassionate eye. But it wasn’t until after the Revolution that a unique Russian-Jewish literature brought forth a fully-rounded picture of Jewish life. Beyond the Pale explores the literature of two of the Russian Empire’s Jewish masters — Isaac Babel and Isaac Bashevis Singer — as well as their American descendants Bernard Malamud and Grace Paley — all of whom bear the strong influence of Chekhov’s stylistic precision and his humanity. This evening’s reading is curated and directed by Jeff Schwager. You’ll hear “The Story of My Dovecot” by Issac Babel, “The Mirror” by Issac Bashevis Singer, “The Magic Barrel” by Bernard Malamud, and “Goodbye and Good Luck” by Grace Paley, read by Seagull ensemble members Julie Briskman and Mark Jenkins, with guest artists Ben Phillips, Richard Arum, and Ayo Tushinde.
Forbidden Fruit: Tales of Paradise Lost and Found
Wednesday, March 2, 2016, 7 PM
An evening of stories exploring themes of temptation, giving in, and growing up. Forbidden Fruit is the 2016 kick-off of The Seagull Project’s popular reading series, The Great Soul of Russia: All Roads Lead to Chekhov. In “Forbidden Fruit” by Fazil Iskander, a young boy wrestles with his pride, his faith, and his familial loyalties when he witnesses his sister eating pork, a food strictly forbidden by his Muslim upbringing. In “Wild Plums” by Grace Stone Coates, two families confront their class prejudices and assumptions over the simple act of harvesting plums. And in Chekhov’s own “The Betrothed,” a young woman is finally set to marry the man of her dreams. But her girlhood illusions don’t match the realities of the man or the life she will soon be leading. The evening’s storytellers are acclaimed Seagull ensemble members Julie Briskman and Alexandra Tavares, with guest artist Jean Sherrard. Forbidden Fruit is the first of four readings that precede The Seagull Project’s full production of Chekhov’s The Cherry Orchard, coming in 2017.