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Song of the Seagull - casting announced

Lindsey Crow

Preview by Lizzie Guilfoyle

CASTING has been announced for the world premiere of Song of the Seagull, a site specific production that runs at the Menier Gallery from March 15 to March 31, 2012.

Playing Nina will be Lindsey Crow, the young British soprano whose five-week adventure from Athens to Edinburgh using just classical singing as her only means of survival, won her the six-part Sky Arts TV series, The Art of Survival.

She will be joined by Persia Lawson, Steven Clarke, Raphael Verrion, Nicholas Gauci, Max Krupski and Claire Monique Martin.

Previously Posted: Song of the Seagull*, a fictional musical drama based on and inspired by the young Anton Chekhov and his play The Seagull, receives its world premiere at the Menier Gallery, where it runs from Thursday, March 15 to Saturday, March 31, 2012.

As Russia’s “brightest young stars” gather on the banks of the Volga one sultry summer’s evening in 1886, the death of a seagull changes all of their lives forever.

Young Anton Pavlovich Chekhov, surrounded by Bohemian artists, writers and musicians, is lured away from the medical profession and begins to take his writing seriously.

But his involvement with a young gypsy singer, and his relationship with landscape artist Isaac Levitan lead to a life-changing painting excursion to the Volga. Tragedy and disillusion inevitably follow the young, impetuous passion.

Based on real events and real characters, this new site specific production of Song of the Seagull will play out around the art installation in the Menier Gallery, an event titled Water From The Moon.

The extraordinary events of that summer will eventually shape Chekov’s most famous writing – The Seagull. As his friends pull him in different directions, his loyalties are torn.

Isaac Levitan, the renowned landscape painter whose letters to and from Chekhov were destroyed at his request, shares Chekhov’s passion for nature and enjoyment of dirty jokes. But he is later dismayed to find himself in one of Chekhov’s stories, and considers this a gross betrayal.

Vera Kommisarevskaya – the first actress to play Nina in The Seagull and mentor of Stanislavski – is desperate to be immortalised in a play and intermittently tells Chekhov deep secrets about herself; of her grief when her brother Grisha drowned and of her anguished mother wailing in the cherry orchard; her sexual betrayal by her husband which caused her deep hurt; anecdotes which inspire character back stories for The Cherry Orchard and The Seagull.

Vasily Kalinnikov, a friend of Tchaikovsky and ground breaking composer, provides inspiration for the music of the piece.

When Isaac shoots a seagull events begin to escalate towards a tragic conclusion.

Tragically, along with Chekhov himself, all of these artists are destined to die young at the height of their fame. But their quest for “immortality” has been realised in their respective achievements.

Adapted and directed by critically acclaimed Young Vic Genesis director, Linnie Reedman, Song of the Seagull remains true to her ethos of exploring dark, intricate relationships through merging new writing with the original concept.

Also a classically-trained actress, Reedman has performed nationally in an eclectic range of theatre, and has worked alongside directors such as Alan Rickman (The Winter’s Guest) and Tim Supple (Spring Awakening).

Her previous directing credits include Miracle, starring Susannah York and Tim Woodward (set in a crypt), Dorian Gray and Romeo and Juliet, all staged at Leicester Square Theatre. She recently adapted and directed Maupassant’s Bel Ami.

The performance will be accompanied by original music by award-winning composer Joe Evans and is performed live, forming and integral part of the script.

Song of the Seagull is produced by Ruby in the Dust. Casting has yet to be announced.

Tickets: £15 – available from the box office on 08444 771000 or from www.ticketweb.co.uk.

Times: Thursday to Saturday at 7.30pm, Thursday and Saturday matinees at 3pm.

NB: The Menier Gallery is adjacent to and in the same building as The Menier Chocolate Factory.

Water From The Moon features work from young artists exploring the mediums of collage, paint, feathers, taxidermy, new sculptural works and video; mostly revolving around the themes of death, loss and memory; creating a personal world where beauty, death and the promise of immortality collide. Some material may shock and disturb.