‘I Am the Seagull’
I Am the Seagull or Something is an original play devised and written by Sarah Hines ’15 and Aliza Sotsky ’15. The production takes the audience behind the scenes of a new, two-woman Chekhovian play and into the increasingly complex relationship between the actresses Anna and Nina.
The show follows the pair as they rehearse, using unconventional techniques designed to create intimacy and vulnerability.
The one-hour production begins in medias res, a few days before the opening night of the play and continuously flashes backward and forward in time, strategically sprinkling in narrative details along the way. The time is marked helpfully by a countdown to opening night, displayed on an easel in a corner of the stage.
Life imitates art and art imitates life as Anna and Nina struggle with themes of love, fear, trust and exploration. By the culminating scene— their opening night performance—it is hard to tell which sphere has influenced the other more.
One thing is certain: the interplay between them and and their lives results in a powerful, emotional work of art which has changed both women for good.
Hines and Sotsky’s intensity and focus on each other is, at times, mesmerizing. The bare-bones set and minimal costume changes help to keep the focus on the two, whose complex characters were richly rewarding to watch.
This intensity was not without comic relief, however, mostly from Hines, whose character has a habit of breaking the ice with jokes when things get uncomfortably serious. In one scene, while the two tackle an acting exercise to explore their sense of space and touch, Anna quips to Nina as she blindly embraces her, “You look like Helen Keller trying to get laid.”
Under the direction of playwright, actor, director, teacher and visual artist Steven Bogart, the two seniors created and performed a unique, multilayered and thoroughly entertaining piece.