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The director of the production, Theatre Arts Lecturer James Schlatter, calls the play both a tragedy and a comedy. The play is about the struggle of young people in nineteenth-century Russia yearning to define themselves through art, Schlatter said yesterday. Schlatter added that The Seagull is about their quest to find a place for love and beauty in the reality of the world, and their attempt to use their art to fulfill their dreams. Schlatter said he thinks that students will relate to the characters in the play very well because it reflects the challenges of self-discovery which face many young people. The ten members of the cast have learned to emulate the closeness of Chekhov's characters, Schlatter said, adding that during three intense weeks of nightly rehearsals, the cast has developed into a strong performing unit. Seagull Producer Lisa Goldsmith said last night she is impressed with the group's effort in organizing the production. "It's a classic not done very often," said Goldsmith, a College senior. "It's a challenge for the students to do." Although Chekhov is often considered a serious and somber writer, The Seagull is clear evidence of his talent as a humorous author, Schlatter said. "I chose The Seagull to show people [that Chekhov has] wonderful moments of comedy," Schlatter said. Schlatter said that Chekhov's mastery of comedy lends the tale of struggle and awakening a real-life quality that enables the viewer to connect with Chekhov's characters by both laughing and crying at their experiences. He added that the play illustrates that tragic events in life can be "funny and absurd" as well as how quirks of life can make people feel sad. Chekhov's The Seagull will be performed by the Penn Players at the Harold Prince Theatre in Annenberg Center on March 21 to 23 and on March 28 to 30 at 8:00 PM.

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