This superb play by Anton Chekhov presents drama and romance between an ensemble cast of vivid, evocative characters.
We join Sorin, a retired government servant who lives on his estate with his wife who is a famed stage actress named Arkadina. Their son, Konstantin Treplyov, is a playwright who has recently published an unconventional work which has attracted much public attention. However, in spite of his artistic talents Konstantin is prone to troubles of mood. His habit of shooting seagulls influences the plot, and provides the play with its title.
In keeping with his penchant for romantic flair, Chekhov establishes potential romances early in the story. Masha, the estate keeper's daughter, is taken by Konstantin but herself liked by a schoolteacher named Medvedenko. These romances in turn fuel the plot - as the reader is left guessing as to who will pair off with whom.
Chekhov wrote this play while residing a lodge he had constructed in the middle of a cherry orchard. The rural idyll inspired him to write The Sea-Gull, although at the time he suffered with the heavy snowfall native to the Russian countryside.
The play was enthusiastically embraced in both St. Petersburg and Moscow, with stagings receiving near-unanimous praise from both Russian and foreign critics. Since its first performance in 1896 it has received adaptations into opera, television, and movie productions around the world.