The Seagull

Krétakör Theatre, Budapeat, Hungary, 2004
Author: Anton Pavlovich Chekhov
Directed by Árpád Schilling

about the production

There are a lot of shy metaphors in the performance, the most dramatic being the body of the seagull thrown down in a plastic bag, the feathers flying into Nina’s face. The symbol of the theatre is interweaving the entire performance. At the end of Act I the actors bow, and they play the whole narrow-minded Hungarian applause ritual. Later on, they announce the end of Act II and the beginning of Act III. However, they do not come back to bow in the end, we have to damage the barricade of chairs at the entrance put there by the actors, who thus follow Chekhov’s instructions. And while we try to come to our senses, the actors applaud us from the outside, they clap rhythmically, as we Stalin’s best disciples – always have done, and, not being able to openly manifest our sentiments, we still do in theatre. They take us for fools, but we deserve it.
Tamás Koltai, Élet és irodalom

The Schilling’s company is making a much better theatre than the ones within the official structure, but this group has passed over the rebel period. They are a team made up of real individuals. They constantly experiment with the methods of theatre making. This time they search – also due to the difficult circumstances of company’s existence – what would happen if they remain on stage alone, with no helping aids. They do not become lonely. They are able to rely on each other, they respond so sensitively to the slightest gesture of the partner that the atmosphere is filled with excitement from the very first moment, while seemingly nothing happens. It is “only” people talking to each other, they meditate, they long for something, try to keep to their own ways, and in the meantime, they damage their own lives here and there. All this is sometimes funny, sometimes ironic, extremely cheeky, and tragicomically unbearable.
Bóta Gábor, Magyar Hírlap

Considering the essential meaning, this Seagull is probably the most real Seagull I have ever seen. Stanislavsky’s method is working here – and of course, it does not have a Stanislavsky-like result. (…) The actors seem not to do anything just being themselves; they do not wear co- stumes. Accordingly, they do not treat Chekhov’s characters differently, but through understanding these roles after a deep analysis the actors and characters finally merge. “The actors identify with the characters” – this old and for many decades dubious praise would fit here. (...) They all remain our contemporaries. Identification with the role, even merging with it makes the decisive element of the performance’s effect. However, it is only one among the many. Schilling does not simply conjure up Stanislavsky’s ghost, at the same time he denies him. Moreover, through (also) Stanislavsky’s ghost he denies (still?) valid theatrical convention.
László Zappe, Népszabadság


directed by Árpád Schilling
dramaturg: Anna Veress
scenography: Márton Ágh, Tamás Bányai
assistant to the director: Péter Tóth
production manager: Máté Gáspár
characters and cast:
Irina Nikolayevna Arkadina, an actress: Eszter Csákányi, Pjotr Nikolaevich Sorin, her brother: József Gyabronka, Konstantin Gavrilovich Treplev, her son: Zsolt Nagy, Nina Zarechna, a young girl: Annamária Láng, Boris Trigorin, a writer: Tilo Werner, Yevgeniy Sergeyevich Dorn, doctor: Sándor Terhes, Sgamrayev, estate manager: Péter Scherer, Polina Andreyevna, his second wife: Borbála Péterfy, Masha, his daughter: Lilla Sárosdi, Medvedenko, teacher: László Katona


Árpád Schilling (1974)
He graduated from the Academy of Theatre and Film in Budapest in 2000. In 1995 he started his studies, at the same time he started directing and he founded the theatre Krétakör (Chalk Circle). Since then, theatre critics have regarded him an important personality among young theatre artists. He has won the award for the best direction at the Kazincbarcika International Theatre Festival for Bloody Wedding by G. Lorca, Schilling’s first professional work as a director. Since then, he has won the highest awards awarded by Hungarian theatre critics (Critical Appraisal Award), also by professional public (Alternative Theatrical Review, festivals in Kazincbarcika, Csurgó, Gödöllő) and he is the guest of prestigious international festivals. The Krétakör theatre is Schilling’s home stage, however, he has worked on productions with other theatre ensembles, which we know from the Divadelná Nitra Festival: Bárka, Thália, and József Katona Theatre (Brecht’s Baal – Divadelná Nitra 2000). Moreover, Schilling worked as guest director in Piccolo Teatro in Milan, Schaubühne in Berlin and National Theatre in Strassbourg.


Materials available

Script of the production: SK, HU

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