Chekhov Project Film, I AM A SEAGULL, Will Get NYC Screening on 3/2

Chekhov Project Film, I AM A SEAGULL, Will Get NYC Screening on 3/2

I AM A SEAGULL, a new film directed by Brian Mertes, will have its world premiere at the Fourth Annual Segal Center Film Festival on Theatre and Performance (FTP) on Friday, March 2 at 6:30 PM. The screening, which is free and open to the public, will take place at The Martin E. Segal Theatre Center, located at Elebash Recital Hall at The Graduate Center, City University of New York (365 Fifth Avenue at 34th Street). The screening will be followed by a talkback featuring members of the creative team including creative producers Melissa Kievman and Alex Harvey, and producers Wendy vanden Heuvel and Julie Buck.

Each August since 2003, dozens of actors, designers, musicians and directors gather at the famed South Mountain Road, 30 miles from New York City in the heart of Rockland County and attempt to stage a play by Anton Chekhov. The setting is an 1805 farmhouse owned by theatre and television director Brian Mertes, and theatre director Melissa Kievman, matching the bucolic country estate settings for many of Chekhov's most famous plays. The result of each year's exploration process is a one-time, site-specific performance for neighbours and visitors from New York City that begins in the afternoon and ends after sundown, staged throughout the house and property. Housing and hospitality for the visiting performers is provided by many of the community's local residents.

I AM A SEAGULL brings audiences behind-the-scenes of The Chekhov Project for the first time, showing the intensive production process as life and rehearsal blend together for a community of artists. Surrounded by a menagerie of paper lanterns, circus tents, ten-foot tall puppets and floating furniture, the players merge with the reckless choices of their characters. In full view of their fellow artists as well as a wider participating audience, the performers' most intimate impulses are splayed open and made public. Through juxtaposing phases of rehearsal, live performance and pure cinema, this hybrid narrative film and documentary captures the idealism, contradictions and raw instinct that fuels theatre-making itself, along with the ephemeral nature of an art form that bursts into life for a brief moment, witnessed by a committed few, and then disappears.

American Theatre Magazine described The Chekhov Project as "an exuberant retreat [that] propels actors head-first into Chekhov's depths... The setting-complete with wishing well and lakeside dock, ideal for borscht-laden, plein-air dinners and late-night, vodka-fueled jam sessions-feels utterly Chekhovian..."

I AM A SEAGULL documents the 2014 Chekhov Project staging of The Seagull, featuring Gayle Rankin (GLOW, The Greatest Showman), Rob Campbell (All The Way, Hedwig and the Angry Inch), Deirdre O'Connell (The Affair, The Path, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind), Gabriel Ebert (Tony Award winner for Matilda, Casa Valentina), T.R. Knight ("Grey's Anatomy," "The Good Wife," It's Only a Play), Annie Baker (playwright for John, Circle Mirror Transformation, Pulitzer Prize winner for The Flick), Glen Berger(playwright for Spider-Man: Turn Off The Dark, Underneath the Lintel, "Fetch!" "Arthur"), Guy Boyd (Body Double, Streamers, "Black Scorpion"), Wendy vanden Heuvel (Burn Country, Under the Silver Lake), Joan MacIntosh(Dionysus in '69, The Confession) and Lynn Cohen (Munich, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire).

The Film Festival on Theatre and Performance is an annual US event for films that deal directly with themes of theatre and performance. The mission is to present experimental, emerging, and established theatre artists and filmmakers to audiences and industry professionals from around the world. The festival program includes feature films, short films, documentaries, advance screenings, meet-the-filmmaker Q&A sessions, and panels with leading artists in the field. The program includes a roster of more than 35 features, shorts, and documentaries by artists from Argentina, Belgium, Canada, China, France, Germany, Israel, Italy, Lebanon, The Netherlands, Poland, Serbia, The United Kingdom, and the United States.

The Martin E. Segal Theatre Center (MESTC), The Graduate Center, CUNY, is a non-profit Center for theatre, affiliated with CUNY's Ph.D. Program in Theatre. The Center's primary focus is to bridge the gap between the academic and professional performing arts communities by providing an open environment for the development of educational, community-driven, and professional projects in the performing arts.

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