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Week 1: The Seagull by Anton Chekhov 

Play Date: Friday, April 3, 4:00 – 5:30 PM
Hosted by Carol Dunne
“This is one of my very favorite plays of all time. Anton Chekhov was the master of writing about the little triumphs and tragedies of everyday life. The Seagull plot revolves around the relationship between an aging diva Arkadina, her younger lover Trigorin (a famous but mediocre author), her completely neglected son Konstantin, who craves fame as a playwright in order to win his mother’s attention, and Konstantin’s love interest Nina, who lives on a neighboring farm in this rural Russian community. Nina is desperate to be a famous actress and becomes entangled in the lives of the other three. The Seagull is at once hysterically funny and heartbreakingly real. In addition to having an in-depth conversation about the play, a scene will be performed live by favorite Northern Stage artists who will join from their individual locations.” – Carol Dunne
We realize that trying to get a copy of the same translation of The Seagull swiftly will prove impossible for this first Play Date, so we have decided to share a PDF of the play this week. Click HERE to download and please read it before April 3. We will update this page with tips about the play for your reading adventure.
My first tips for all of you:
The Seagull is a comedy. Until it isn’t. This group of people on a farm in Russia in 1895 are educated and bored. They feel life is passing them by. So, when someone starts spouting off about life philosophy, you can read it and think, “who is this character?” Is it the person you see at Dan & Whit’s who seems always to have the most important opinion?  Is it the person your kid hangs out with who you want desperately to be distanced from your family?
Who is Arkadina, the aging actress?  Carol Dunne?  :))) 
Who is Trigorin, the mediocre but famous writer?  I bet you have some ideas.
Read the first scene between Masha and Medvedenko and think about Masha as a spoiled, petulant teenager rather than some stodgy Chekhovian character. The lines:
Medvedenko:  Why do you always wear black?
Masha:  Because I’m in mourning for my life.  I’m not happy.
could be the most boring lines ever in the theater.  Actually, they are hysterically funny, because Masha is a late teen, over indulged, has huge ideals of happiness, and is madly in love with Treplev.  Who is also a lost young man with high ideals. Medvedenko is the local school teacher and he is not too bright.  He desperately wants Masha’s love, but competes with her for whose life is hardest.  A wonderful scene of young people lost in their own self interest!
Second tip:  Forget most of the Russian names.  Just learn the names I have underlined for each character!
Have so much angsty fun!  I’ll send a few tips every day.  Just start with Act I.  A beautiful summer evening by a lake on a farm in Russia.  Treplev has written a play to impress his semi famous mother.  Nina stars in it, because she is using Treplev to get noticed by Treplev’s mother.  Masha is in love with Treplev.  Medvedenko the school teacher is in love with Masha.
And we’re off!
Carol

Week 2: Eurydice by Sarah Ruhl 

Play Date: Friday, April 10, 4:00 – 5:30 PM
Hosted by Eric Love
You’ve heard of Orpheus, the legendary musician whose singing was so beautiful that even stones would weep. But what do you know about his bride, Eurydice? This beloved greek myth has been told and retold over the last 2,000 years, but never like this. Award-winning playwright Sarah Ruhl (The Clean House, In The Next Room, Dead Man’s Cell Phone) turns this myth upside down in this groundbreaking play, reinventing this myth from Eurydice’s perspective.

On the wedding day of Eurydice and Orpheus, there is a nasty and interesting accident, resulting in Eurydice’s death. We follow her into the underworld, where, after being dipped in the River of Forgetfulness, she struggles to remember her past life while being tormented by a Greek Chorus of Stones. When she reunites with her dead father in the underworld, he builds a house for them to live in, determined to restore her memories of their life together. But when Orpheus comes to the gates of hell singing the saddest song of all time, she must make a terrible choice between the father she has just rediscovered and the lover that she can barely remember. This poetic and heart-breaking play explores themes of love, death, and memory.
In 2015, Eric Love directed a production of Eurydice for Lost Nation Theater in Montpelier, Vermont. The stars from that production, Kate Kenney (Eurydice) and Christopher Scheer (Orpheus) will perform two scenes from the play.