14, 15, 16/05 – 20:30
17/05 – 18:00
Croatian > NL / FR
1h 20min

Do we recognise the point where theatre and reality affect one another, marvelled Chekhov in 1896, in what would be one of the most performed pieces in the history of theatre. Over a hundred years later, the uncertainties and disillusionment of the main characters in The Seagull are still just as acute. Croatian theatre maker Bobo Jelčić stages this ultimate repertoire piece in his characteristic warm, clear, and bittersweet style. In a realistic setting, without frills, Jelčić and company hark back to Chekhov to thoroughly quash our fixed ideas about theatre. Everything and everyone in the room is drawn into the theatrical vortex. Navigating between joy and fear, the actors play fragments of a past world that no one even seems to remember. Are we, like Chekhov's characters, also blinded by thwarted ambitions and unfulfilled desires? Galeb is a timeless tragicomedy about life and the stage, a must-see for theatre lovers!

An adaptation of
The Seagull (1896) by Anton Chekhov

Directed by
Bobo Jelčić

Performed by
Ksenija Marinković, Sreten Mokrović, Krešimir Mikić, Jadranka Đokić, Goran Bogdan, Nataša Dorčić, Katarina Bistrović Darvaš, Pjer Meničanin

Costumes & set design
Bobo Jelčić

Light design
Aleksandar Čavlek

Sound design
Kruno Miljan

Stage manager
Milica Kostanić

Kunstenfestivaldesarts, Théâtre la Balsamine

Zagreb Youth Theatre (Zagreb)

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The Seagull

In a place of cultural gathering, in an era in which existence is measured by the number of failures (with the help of signposts and ideological meanderings) – today, as over the past one hundred years, Chekhov has proven to be our contemporary. As we subject his work to deconstructive analysis or merely read it from the perspective of the century-long futile attempts to reconstruct anything relying on the accuracy of human memory, we lose ourselves with him, in the need to determine the depth of our misfortune or the human suffering familiar to generations of Chekhov’s followers.

Relations remain constant, uncertainty is familiar, riddles stay on the same side, the sense of disorientation has not changed. Amorous desires remain unfulfilled, artistic pursuits are misunderstood, lust is codified, and the desire to escape is still as illusory. We find ourselves halfway between joy (presence) and anxiety (absence), as protagonists of the daily drama of loss; collectors gathering fragments of a past world in which no one, not even those who advocated it most fervently, seems able to remember.

This Seagull is an attempt not to enter into dialogue with Chekhov or with our time, but to cross the boundaries of theatre. At least the boundaries of 20th century theatre, which explored, through emulating reality, the possibilities of various stage (re)interpretations. This is an open form in which life can be inscribed just as well as literature, and in which there is no great difference between the positioning of the dramatic character, the spectator, or the actor. Its form is simultaneous and segmented, and as such, overcomes one-sided interpretations and calls for the bringing of one’s own experiences into the literary fates of Semyon Semyonovich Medvedenko, or, for instance, Peter Nikolaevich Sorin. Thus, in this game of double meaning, none of us are more, or less, miserable than Arkadina, her son Treplev, or Nina Mikhailovna.

Theatre advocated by Boris Alekseevich Trigorin is theatre of which we are still in pursuit, in the belief that we will one day reach it. The disordered age we find ourselves in at the beginning of yet another century, calls for the disappearance of old forms (those related to theatre, too) and for the rethinking of the performance, in order to satisfy our need for the new, or at least for what is different. And as we try to regain our place in the world, we are also trying to redefine the place of theatre. Although we seem to be equally helpless in both cases, with each attempt we are more open to the new, i.e. that which will eradicate the boundary between stage and auditorium, or if nothing else, make it invisible. On the one hand, there’s a comedy – three female roles, six male roles, four acts, a landscape (a view of a lake), much conversation about literature, little action, and five tons of love; and on the other hand, there are our daily losses, translated into famous dialogues and sentences.

Dubravka Vrgoč

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Bobo Jelčić was born in Mostar in 1964. He studied directing at the Zagreb Academy of Dramatic Arts in 1990. He directed Delire à deux by Eugene Ionesco at the Theatre &TD in Zagreb, Die Fremdenführerin by Botho Strauss and Die Garagen by Jakob Arjouni at the Gavella theatre, Woyzeck at the Croatian National Theatre Varaždin, Tena at the Theatre of Mostar, The Marriage by Nikolai Gogol at the Gavella theatre, On the Other Side, The Store Window (with Nataša Rajković) and The Seagull by Chekhov at the Zagreb Youth Theatre.

In the eight years that Dubravka Vrgoč has been Zagreb Youth Theatre’s general manager and artistic director, the company has become a theatre with a distinct European orientation. The company’s repertoire and artistic conception, its search for new forms, its sense of democracy, its promotion and anticipation of new trends, its styles of acting and, above all, its way of dealing with contemporary issues that concern us all have made it one of the most ambitious and fascinating theatres in this part of Europe. The Zagreb Youth Theatre is a space of stage exploration in the domain of theatrical art for audiences of all ages, and today it holds an important place in European theatre.

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