Dalhousie students in the Fountain School of Performing Arts took the stage on Tuesday to begin their first performance of The Seagull.
The Seagull is a play written in 1895 by Anton Chekhov and revolves around the main character, Nina, who is an aspiring actress, and a man named Konstantin who wants to reinvent the theatre through his writing.
Dalhousie’s version of the play is directed by Tanja Jacobs, a theatre artist, director and actress who has been working in the theatre for 32 years. Despite losing multiple days of practice due to Halifax’s extreme winter, Jacobs is happy with how the production is going.
“Considering that we lost time and had problems that we couldn’t control or solve … I find it remarkable how achieved the production is. I’m very pleased with it,” said Jacobs.
This is Jacobs’ third time working on a production of The Seagull in the past two years.
“I would do 10 more versions of it!” said Jacobs. “It’s not the only work that’s going on in my life. I’m also a working actor, but if I was given another opportunity to work with young people in this play, I wouldn’t hesitate to do it again. I’m not bored with it and I never will be.”
Jacobs’ fascination with this play stems from the idea that, although sober at times, it is so relatable to real life.
“I find this play inspiring because it portrays that life is not just complex but full of disappointments. It proposes that disappointments can be experienced and endured; that life can be endured,” said Jacobs.
She also believes The Seagull is an educational and beneficial production for artists to work on because, like the characters within the play, they share “romantic ideas” about love and art.
Jacobs was in charge of casting while living at home in Toronto and tried to cast the actors in a way she thought would connect to or relate with the characters they were playing.
“[The actors] were asked to tell a story about an experience they’d had in the theatre, whether as an audience member or an actor … I learned a lot about them by watching those stories,” said Jacobs.
The production of The Seagull continues at the Sir James Dunn Theatre in the Dalhousie Arts Centre until April 4.