A new co-exhibition, “Unchanged but the Spirit. . . ’, launching 7 October 2014, between the James Hardiman Library, NUI Galway the Russian State Art Library, Moscow, will for the first time in Ireland, present archive material on the production and stage history of The Seagull by Anton Chekhov, from initial staging in 19th Century Russia to later adaptations in contemporary Ireland.
The Chekhovian classic The Seagull has engaged and provoked audiences since its Moscow premieré in 1896. From a poor initial reception from audiences and critics alike, the play was close to being abandoned and forgotten until it received its production at the Moscow Art Theatre, directed by Constantine Stanislavsky in 1898. Since then, the play has been regarded as one of Chekhov’s finest works. In an Irish context, the play received a translation and adaptation by playwright Thomas Kilroy, premiering at the Royal Court Theatre, London in 1981. In opening up and combining the archive sources of Kilroy and other theatre archives of the Hardiman Library and of the R.S.A.L collections in Moscow, the exhibition will highlight how across cultures, languages, societies and centuries, theatre and its impact can remain unchanged.
This exhibition will simultaneously stage material from the theatre collections of the Hardiman Library and the Russian State Art Library in both Galway and Moscow throughout the month of October and is a unique chance to see a visual and archival history of The Seagull, in its many manifestations, from Chekhov to Kilroy.
All are welcome to attend the launch of the exhibition by Dr. Ian Walsh, Centre for Drama, Theatre and Performance, NUI Galway, at the Hardiman Building (Room G011) at 6pm, Tuesday, 7 October.