The Notebook of Trigorin: A Free Adaptation of Chechkov's The Sea Gull
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From the master twentieth-century playwright Tennessee Williams-an adaptation of Chekhov's The Sea Gull, never before available to the general trade. The Notebook of Trigorin is faithful to Chekhov's story of longing and unrequited love. Set on a provincial Russian Estate, its peaceful environs offer stark contrast to the turbulent lives of its characters. Constantine, a young writer, must compete for the attention of his mother, a self-obsessed, often comical aging actress, Madame Arkadina, and his romantic ideal, Nina. His rival for both women is Trigorin, an established author bound to Arkadina by her patronage of his work, and attracted to Nina by her beauty. Trigorin cannot keep himself from consuming everything of value in Constantine's life. Only in the final scenes do all discover that the price for love and fragility can be horribly high. But if the words in The Notebook of Trigorin are essentially Chekhov's, the voice belongs firmly to Tennessee Williams. The dialogue resonates with echoes of the themes Williams developed as his signatures-compassion for the artistic soul and its vulnerability in the face of the world's "successfully practiced duplicity" (Act I).
the talent, you must simply go on, go on, regardless of frivolous reactions. [Masha appears upstage.] MASHA: Constantine, your mother wants to speak to you, she’s afraid you misunderstood her. CONSTANTINE: Tell her I’ve gone away, and please, all of you, leave me alone, don’t keep coming after me with these bits of consolation, scraps thrown to a whipped dog. [He exits. Masha starts to follow, calling:] MASHA: Constantine, Kostya . . . [Masha bursts into tears.] TRIGORIN: And so you care for
NINA: Perhaps—perhaps you can use the time on the train to complete your story. TRIGORIN [after a desperate pause]: Ha ha ha ah ah! Use the time? On the train? In our lady’s compartment while she studies her part? The part of Medea? Howls? Lamentations? “Please, dear, not quite so loud.” —“Shall I try to find a different compartment?” “Boris, Boris, just hear this! Then go!” —I am subjected to a tirade. “No, no, overdid, did I?” —“Yes, dear, just slightly.” —“Suppose I begin on a lower key?” —
short prayer is the sweetest to God’s busy ears, dear friends. What a continual storm of human supplications he’s asked to hear at all hours! SHAMRAYEV: If you should happen to encounter the actor Suzdaltsev, Madam, will you give him— ARKADINA: Dead for two years, and you didn’t know? [Shamrayev crosses himself.] POLINA: We only receive the news you send us, Madam— Ilya, is the luggage in the carriage? —Ilya! SHAMRAYEV: I was—remembering something. The tragedian Izmailov—they were in the
put down three? Eight, eighty-one! Ten! SHAMRAYEV: Not so fast. ARKADINA: Did someone mention the Empress? The fact of the matter is— [There is a nervous silence.] The management and I have had strained relations for some time now. I asked to see my costumes. There were none! Schwetzoff had the audacity to pretend that I’d promised to provide my own wardrobe. POLINA: I hope you put him in his place. ARKADINA: I had written him that unless I was satisfied with my costumes—I would appear stark
crying now. NINA: It does me good, and what could be more natural? Being here under this roof with— CONSTANTINE: Him. NINA: You won’t tell him? Please, no. [They hear the sound of Trigorin and Arkadina laughing, muted.] CONSTANTINE: I know you were with him a while. NINA: Do you? [He nods.] CONSTANTINE: He treated you brutally. NINA: It’s too easy to say that. After all, remember, I did throw myself at him while he belonged to your mother. He had no commitment to me: he had to her! Oh,