A profound tale about the very human tendency to reject love that is freely given and seek it where it is withheld, The Seagull was described by Chekhov himself as "a comedy in four acts." The comic nature of this play, which ultimately ends in tragedy, is revealed through the heartbreaking absurdity of its characters as they engage in fundamentally human dramas of unrequited love and unmitigated failure. Similarly to Chekhov's other major works, Uncle Vanya and The Cherry Orchard, The Seagull's main events take place off-stage, and the focus of the action is what transpires between the characters, with heartfelt feelings that once expressed, are later thwarted. Playwright Konstantin is in love with the young actress Nina, while Nina is infatuated with the writer Trigorin, the companion of Konstantin's mother, Arkadina. This utter desperation and lovesickness becomes an epidemic that reverberates within the domestic world of this remote Russian setting, symptomatically expressed through silences, cliché, verbal tics, and disastrous attempts at clarity.
The Seagull runs in repertory with RSC's production of King Lear.