Seagull , Set Design Notes
The Seagull 1 2 3
Seagull was the second production in the debut season of the
Moscow Art Theater (1898). The director Stanislavsky was known
for the meticulous care with which he prepared his productions.
RIGHT: This is his sketch for the set design of
Act I of The Seagull (click on the image for a larger version).
Sets and costumes for this production (and for an enormous number
of other MAT productions over the next 34 years) were created
by the designer Viktor Andreevich Simov. Simov is recognized as
a design pioneer who moved Russian theater away from the standard
nineteenth-century box set. His productions were built around
historical research, authenticity, rigorous planning and execution
of the mise-en-scene, careful attention to detail and designs
that responded to the thematic structures of a given play.
LEFT: This set of directions was written by Stanislavsky
to accompany the Act I conversation between Treplev and
1) Leans over, picks a flower and tells his fortune with
2) Sits facing the audience and nervously pulls at the grass.
Smokes. Treplev gets more and more worked up, his speech
becomes broken and faster.
3) In annoyance he slaps his leg, gets up and leans toward
Sorin trying to convince him. Even pounds his chest in excitement.
4) Having waved his hand he climbs over the board of the
swing and nervously walks around the terrace. A pause of
about 5 seconds. Having walked around, Treplev calms down,
comes back to his earlier spot, looks at his watch, and
sits down straddling the bench.
BELOW: Stanislavsky's drawing of the set design for Act
III of "The Seagull" (click on the image for a larger version).