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May 12, 2013

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Thank you for this very excellent and incisive analysis of the differences between the two plays. I was not familiar with Chekhov’s the Seagull and was somewhat disturbed that Chekhov, a physician, made the physician, Dr. Dorn, such a miserable character. The Williams adaptation gives no credit to the medical profession. Furthermore, this adaptation by Williams really does not make the symbolism of the Seagull apparent. I had to go to Wikipedia to figure out what that was all about. Although the world Chekhov portrayed is no longer – the people in the emotions are the same. The lesson here, as you put it so nicely, is to not try to improve upon a masterpiece or think you can adapt a great work of art to a different society. Even the great playwright must remain in the bubble of his or her own time.

Thank you for your thoughtful comment. I don't agree that there's a lesson here about not trying to inprove upon a masterpiece, or that you can't adapt a great work of art to a different society. I would never say ahead of time what a talented writer could or couldn't achieve -- you never know. This play is a disappointing adaptation but that doesn't mean that playwrights can't converse through the ages by taking up one another's plays. Look, for example, at all the wonderful ways Greek tragedies have been revisited, yielding insightful dramas with new meanings. Thanks for writing. Yvonne

Thank you for your reply - I agree with you - there have been many really excellent interpetrations of classics.

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