If you nedd to speak your mind, regarding America Attacked, this will take you right there.
link will take you to part three.
America Attacked 911 + message board.
link will take you to a Natalie Portman message board.
to part four of The Seagull review, page re-designed a whole new
This a part two of a two part review. The original review can be
found at the following web site.
Let's talk about War of the Economy.
talk about the play a bit and the meta message that Chekhov was
trying to portray. The Characters:
Two of a now 4 part series with one message board.
Look for a photo in this space soon, I am simply making sure that
I have persmission, or that the public domain image may be used
In this play we find various representations of the author
himself. The country doctor (Chekhov was a physician) Dorn (played
by Larry Pine) is extremely sympathetic to the character of
Konstantin. While speaking of the play within the play
Dorn said " There is something in it...something fresh and
artless about it " (Anton Chekhov The Seagull, A New Version by Tom
Stoppard-Dorn pg .18) Dorn showed genuine appreciation for
Konstantin and and at least was trying to find good things to say
about the play staged by Konstantin. The character of Dorn (Larry
Pine) was one of a satisfied man, that did not harbor unspoken
yearnings, yet this character was perhaps the only one in the play,
who either understood Konstantin, or at least was trying to
understand him, and recognized the raw untutored talent within
The character of Dorn as played by Larry Pine came off in this
performance as a good straight man, versus the character of Sorin
(Christopher Walken) who seemed to get the lionís share of laughs.
The character Sorin (Konstantinís uncle, retired government
offficial and owner of the estate, as well as Arkadinaís brother) as
played by Christopher Walken was never upstaged. This character was
given (born with, endowed by his creator A. Chekhov, if you will)
the most fully fleshed out and believable attributes.. Christopher
Walken played the character with an easy grace and his delivery of
Chekhovís immortal lines provided some much needed humor. Without
this character, it is doubtful that this play would still be
produced and enjoyed in the 21 st. century. Even with his back to
the audience Christopher Walken filled the theater with laughter
when he interupted the young plywrightís (Konstantinís) introduction
of the play with his delivery of the lines " Two hundred thousand
years from now thereíll be nothing." (Tom Stoppard, Sorin pg. 11)
The audience burst out in laughter, the lines ringing as true today,
as when they were first written by Anton Chekhov.
Konstantin (Philip Seymour Hoffman), is young writer, a
twenty-five year old boy, searching for his own
identity and style in his writing. To understand Chekhov's The
Seagull it is useful to view Konstantin as a young unknown version
of Chekhov himself. It is possible to also view Konstantin as a
representative of any man (or perhaps everyman) who is discontented
either as a writer, artist, or simply one who is trying to find
their own meaning in their work or in their life.
The character of Trigorin as written by Anton Chekhov, and played
by Kevin Kline is difficult to analyze. Trigorin was written with
the attributes of an accomplished and confident writer, he had some
awareness of his faults, but rather than critique himself for his
flaws, he seems to embrace them.
Trigorin (played by Kevin Kline) was an accomplished and famous
writer " idolized by the public, written about in all the papers,
his photograph shop windows. his books translated into foreign
languages..." (Tom Stoppard- Nina pg 29) These lines were well
delivered by a properly starry eyed, youthful and innocent Nina
(portrayed by Natalie Portman). The character Trigorin (according to
the Konstantin) was " Intelligent- unaffected- a melancholy
streak...".( Anton Chekhov The Seagull, A New Version by Tom
Stoppard- Konstantin pg 6.)
Perhaps Trigorin's self indulgent poor me the
"...And people read it and say, "Oh yes, a very pretty
but not a patch on Tolstoy'
Chekhov The Seagull, A New Version by Tom Stoppard-Trigorin pg
can help us make sense of what Anton Chekhov was trying to show
us with this character. "If only we could have could have heard the
the conversations when Chekhov made long journeys to talk to
Tolstoy." (Irene Worth, Public Access Stagebill- The Program of The
Public Theater August 2001, pg 28)
After all this analysis, I believe that Chekhov in his lifetime
must have felt compelled to develop his own style. After all he had
to compete with so many great writers who were already held in such
high esteem, and yes adored by the public. The reviews that he may
have read in his day, must of driven him to near madness. Yet to
always be compared, to to other writers and to be found lacking,
must have caused at least a fair amount of dissonance within his
writing, and perhaps within his very soul. As for the character of
Nina (Natalie Portman), here we hava an un-educated youth, throw
herself at him simply due to his fame. We can imagine that Nina
represents the masses. Flocking towards what they feel is good
because it is what all the other people like. Aha, yes...hence the
title of the play, The Seagull. Would Anton Chekhov the soulful
writer be satisfied with only that ? To be viewed as
an accomplished writer only because others said and thought he was
I for one, say no. This very concept must be what the entire
play was about.
The flock-like behaviour of the people, the masses, Nina-
to Konstantin Act Two " you keep saying things somehow
in symbols or something-
I mean,look at this this
seagull, a symbol if I ever saw one,
but of what, I'm
sorry, I've no idea.
I'm not clever enough to make it
(Tom Stoppard, Nina, pg. 30)
Was Chekhov writing his plays to be adored, by the masses ? You
tell me. I would love to continue with this thread, however, the
rest of the play awaits.Kevin Kline has three notable
scenes. One of the them was lost due to lously blocking where we
have Arkadina (Meryl Streep) and Trigorin (Kevin Kline) facing each
other with their sides presented to the audience. A good three
minutes of this scene (which seemed like an eternity) had these two
actors each upstaging the other, so that from where I was sitting I
could neither see the face of Meryl Streep, nor the face of
Kevin Kline. The play, by the way, was directed by Mike Nichols.
Natalie Portman played the character of Nina. Nina was adored
by Konstantin (Philip Seymour Hoffman) and was also liked by
Trigorin (Kevin Kline). Natalie Portman showed good command of the
stage from the moment she ran on to it (the stage) worried if she
was late. Portman delivered her lines while acting as if she was out
of breath. The character of Nina was written as a fresh starry eyed
unspoiled youth. Natalie Portman the accomplished actress was given
the role of playing a naÔve unspoiled and innocent youth. Portman
played the role well and very convicingly. She a adored Trigorin
(Kevin Kline) even before she met him, as evidenced by the delivery
of her lines before he even appeared onstage. Whereas Konstantin
(Philip Seymour Hoffman) hated Trigorin, and all that he stood for.
Towards the end of act Two Anton Chekhov has provided his
characters with some excellent possibilities for dramatic
interaction. Konstantin has just layed the dead seagull at Ninaís
feet. Konstantin indulges in self deprecation . Beating himself up
in front of his would be lover, Nina. Natalie Portman played this
scene with an a convincing innocense. Rather than being taken aback
and horrified by the dead seagull, and the dark cynical self
depracating lines of Konstantin, she is indulgent, trying to give
Konstantin the gifted writer a chance to come down
from his loftly soulful artist soapbox, back down to earth, where us
Instead of taking Ninaís cue to humble and explain himself,
Konstantin continues with his sardonic misunderstood, an
un-appreciated artist theme. As the audience views this scene, how
can we blame Nina (Natalie Portman) who is doing everything she can
to try to reach Konstantin the person, whom she likes, as opposed to
Konstantin the deep,creative,soulful,artist,...the writer.
The character of Nina is as created Chekhov is too superficial,
to really understand that Konstantin is going through deep misery
due to the failure of his play. However, this scence must be calling
for Konstantin to be showing his undying love and pleading for
Nina's sympathy. To play this character properly must be extremely
difficult because the lines reveal a self absorbed deeply disturbed
person. However that very same person is also in the presence of his
beloved. Therfore his every motion and gesture must be directed and
focused upon her, Nina (Natalie Portman). Unfortunately, the lines
as they were delivered and the stage presence of Konstantin ( Philip
Seymour Hoffman) did not convey this important conflict.
Natalie Portman held up her end of the character's relationship.
She was not looking at the ground, her feet or the dead seagull. Her
focus was upon him, the dejected gloomy, moody depressed, yes and
suicidal person who was once at least her friend.
Every character must bring their motivation with them, up there
on the stage ! The character's motivation is not lying in some ink
splattered on a page. It is clearly up to the actors to bring the
play to life. How to show this onstage ? Nobody ever said acting is
easy, that is why the character of Konstantin is so difficult to
play. One could only hope, that the actors, and directors could
somehow improve this scene, so that we could understand the message
that the author (Amnton Chekhov) was trying to convey.
The play is about to have Konstantinís rival Trigorin walk on
stage. This is an important beat in Anton Chekhovís play. As I
remember its on-stage delivery, and read the play I woder if it
could have been staged better. The stage direction (Tom Stoppard pg
30) has Konstantin see Trigorin as he walks on stage reading a book.
However,as Sanders just convincingly stated above, Konstantins every
gesture and attention should remain upon Nina (Natalie Portman).
So, how can this be done?
Well, how about having Nina ever so slighly perk up, yes a maybe
straighten her dress a bit (and Portman can easily do this) as soon
as Trigorin's presence becomes known on the stage. Then maybe we can
understand some of the folowing lines spoken by Konstantin to Nina
as written by Anotn Chekhov:
(Tom Stoppard, Konstantin, pg 30)
"You cant know how unhappy I am.
Your detachment is literally
as if I were to wake up
one morning and this lake had gone,
away into the ground."
Are these not immortal words of ones sworn love, and the
emptiness found inside when that love is lost. Couldn't someone have
thought of a better way to stage this.
How about Konstantin on one knee reaching up to Natalie
Portman's (Nina's) hand. Then the character playing opposite this
dejected lover, can show some emotion, while also being distracted,
when her idol walks on the stage.
Then in this pose, we could see Konstantin read the simple
distraction shown by Nina's body langauge and slight shift in
While Natalie Portman (Nina) like a leaf turning towards the sun,
an ever so slight tropism towards her idol as she senses and then
sees his presence. All the while still doing the best that her
character Nina (as created by Chekhov with her average acting
talents) can do, to feign her total attention on this despondent,
and yes pathetic would be lover.
Then and only then might we have a chance of understanding the
immortal words of Anton Chekhov, when Konstantin, would pause, turn
away from Nina, and see Trigorin and begin standing up and
withdrawing form Nina, (Natalie Portman) who by now would barely be
paying any attention to him. The Audience would then hear the
following lines, and understand them.
"The sun's rays have not yet kissed you
but your already
your glance melted in their warmth"
Written, edited, and coded into html by Stephen C. Sanders, most
recent version, September 9,2001