The run time for ‘The Seagull,’ now playing at ACT Theatre, may tip toward the two and three-quarter hour mark, but the only thing this performance is long on is character, drama and humor. And you won’t want to miss a moment of it.
I’ll admit that anytime a production (be it theater, dance or film) clocks in at over two-plus hours I suffer a moment of trepidation before diving in. But recently that unease has been assuaged. First it was “Lincoln,” then “Django Unchained” that made me reconsider my reluctance toward entertainment that ticks past the 90-minute mark.
Now, it's the production of Anton Chekhov’s “The Seagull” that has made me realize, when done right, a performance that flirts with a three hour time commitment can be so engaging that the evening's fun can be over before you know it.
This production has been a labor of love for a group of ten talented Seattle actors who joined forces nine months ago to begin rehearsing this Russian saga. And it is clear that all of their hard work has paid off.
This is truly an ensemble effort that offers some fully developed characters, not to mention more than its fair share of humorous and wicked moments - including some biting turns by Julie Briskman as Arkadina, a fading actress who’s not quite ready to give up the spotlight. On the other end of the spectrum sits Konstantin, played with a steady hand by Brandon J. Simons. As Arkadina’s son, Konstantin fills his role as an earnest, yet not quite accomplished writer whose emotions and intellectual musings can teeter on the docile (except when he is trying to kill himself).
The efficient, late 19th century-inspired set design by Jennifer Zeyl and the equally well placed music and sound provided by Roberson Witmer perfectly sets the mood for this Russian tale that delivers a satisfying end to a perfectly played evening.