Members say: Ambitious, Entertaining, Great writing, Great acting, Slow

About the show

The Instigators tackle Chekhov's classic in an imaginative production featuring a new adaptation of the text and a live soundscape that blends actor-created sound effects with original music.

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'The Seagull' is about a family of theater artists and the month-long sojourn in the country that transforms their lives forever. Konstantin, a young and idealistic playwright, dreams of creating new art forms, but a visit from his famous actress-mother and her famous writer-boyfriend overwhelms and demoralizes him. He feels more and more suffocated as his love for the star-struck neighbor girl grows increasingly unrequited. With humor and keen insight, 'The Seagull' exposes the absurdity of the human condition, and the poignancy of the need to live an extraordinary life.

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See: Critics' Reviews | Members' Reviews

Stage Buddy

"The production that promised an immersive experience essentially delivered a traditional staging of the show with an audience sitting in the round...There is nothing particularly wrong about the production, in fact it’s not half bad (Kristen Vaughan’s Arkadina is quite delicious) but it’s not in any way immersive, and as such to give it a positive notice would be unfair. Perhaps the young theatre company will provide what they promise in the future." Full Review

Times Square Chronicles

"The Instigators hit the mark in some aspects of this charming production, but there are some inconsistencies in the interpretation of subtext and the direction of the piece...While Meredith has used the full space to her advantage, Chekhov’s subtext is heavily misinterpreted...The majority of the actors fluctuate between natural and over-the-top...Despite its flaws, this production is an engaging adaptation of Chekhov’s famous play. The themes and overall sensation of the play are just right." Full Review

The Reviews Hub

"Billed as an immersive production, but without a hint of immersion, this production needs stronger direction, and nuance where there is currently none. Though there are moments and performances worth praising, the ensemble is, for the most part, emotionally monotonous at a level of excessive intensity. This makes for a long two-plus hours spent with characters for whom one ultimately has little sympathy." Full Review

Off Off Online

"The Instigators’ adaptation uses immersive elements to enhance and punctuate both large and small moments...The small, informal space of the Access Theater gives the feeling of sitting in someone’s living room, but it doesn’t lend itself to a real immersive experience...Still, there are nice moments...The Instigators’ immersive experience is subtler and gentler than Artaud’s or Punchdrunk’s. Perhaps that’s OK for Chekhov, though, who is a subtle and gentle playwright." Full Review

White Rhino Report

"Lillian Meredith keeps the pace brisk, and she elicits acting from this fine troupe that is compelling...Each of these actors creates a character who is true to the spirit of Chekhov - passionate, troubled, and disconnected in some way from others, from the world, and from themselves...This is a production filled with passion and pathos...This adaptation invites us to revisit this familiar work with fresh eyes." Full Review

See: Critics' Reviews | Members' Reviews

Ambitious, Slow, Entertaining, Uneven acting

See it if You love Chekov and like to see many different types of productions, and are interested in supporting low-budget theatre.

Don't see it if You only like well-polished productions & highly skilled actors, and aren't willing to give a theatre company a chance to spread its wings.

Ambitious, Clever, Great acting, Romantic, Entertaining

See it if You enjoy immersive theater and have a long attention span

Don't see it if You can't sit through almost 3 hours of theater.

Delightful, Great acting, Too long

See it if You want to see a great ensemble perform a family drama that talks about ambition, acceptance, failures, and heartaches.

Don't see it if You prefer a more polished production staging.

Also These guys deserve to be in a better stage production. The whole set u... Read more Read less

Uneven acting

See it if you enjoy uneven acting.

Don't see it if you can't put up with uncomfortable seating options.

Ambitious, Refreshing, Entertaining

See it if you wish to see Chekhov without frills and in a way that respects the text.

Don't see it if you prefer to watch name actors or don't want to sit on chairs.

Also I think this is commendable and imaginatively-executed work--staging, ... Read more Read less

Absorbing, Great acting, Thought-provoking, Resonant, Entertaining

See it if You've never seen it before

Don't see it if You don't get Chekov.

Ambitious, Great writing, Great staging, Immersive, Mixed acting

See it if You want to see a new translation of a classic play in an immersive setting. You want to support a young theatre company.

Don't see it if You want a company that's more equally trained in classical theatre -a few good ones, & a few in a more developmental stage.

Also The running time is 2 1/2 hours. I liked the loft space: it added to t... Read more Read less

Absorbing, Thought-provoking, Great writing, Slow, Scrappy

See it if you're interested in low-budget theatre that doesn't compromise heart or passion. This is art for art's sake--theatre in its purest form.

Don't see it if you don't care for Chekhov or heavy themes, or you're close-minded to shows that don't contain special effects and glitzy production values.

Quirky, Great writing, Dated, Entertaining

See it if you enjoy Chekhov; an entertaining production in a small box theater; some uneven performances

Don't see it if a dated play; some difficult staging choices; hard folding chairs for 2 1/2 hour play;

Exciting, Absorbing, Ambitious, Intelligent, Beautiful set

See it if you want to support an exciting new company. you're open to seeing this play once again.

Don't see it if you hate the play or off off broadway theater.

Also a lovely, promising production. beautiful use of the space, solid dire... Read more Read less

Ambitious, Great acting, Intelligent, Thought-provoking, Slow

See it if You enjoy Chekov. You want to see a show where the acting stars, not a set or special effects. You enjoy small intimate theater.

Don't see it if Classic plays are not your thing. You need the special effects, fancy staging.

Also Theater is on the 4th floor of a walk up building. WARNING for those w... Read more Read less

Ambitious, Clever, Edgy

See it if You want a new take on a classic; you don't mind climbing four flights of stairs to get to the theater

Don't see it if You want to see the original classic play without a modern spin

Thought-provoking, Resonant, Great writing, Slow, Great staging

See it if you haven't seen The Seagull, or other Chekhov plays before. You like small, intimate downtown theatre and a bit innovative staging.

Don't see it if You want to see full staging or well balanced acting.

Also The staging was not extravagant but very effective. You would feel lik... Read more Read less

Ambitious, Quirky, Great writing

See it if you like an intimate venue with passionate performances

Don't see it if you are looking for glitz and glam, don't like heavy themes, or interactive performances

Absorbing, Intense, Dramatic, Tragic

See it if you like a glimpse into how the characters from two families in a small countryside in Russia deal with life's twists and turns

Don't see it if you want something light with a happy ending. As in life, not everything has a happy ending or a close and this ends on a dark note.

Also Usually off-Broadway shows can be a hit or miss but I was pleasantly s... Read more Read less

Dark, Depressing, Ambitious, Solid acting

See it if you are a Chekov fan

Don't see it if you don't like sitting on the floor, climbing four flights of stairs, or are in the mood for something upbeat.

Banal, Slow, Great staging

See it if you enjoy Russian plays, symbolism, mood pieces.

Don't see it if you get antsy in long plays, you expect a lot of action, symbolism isn't your thing.

Clever, Delightful, Enchanting, Resonant, Riveting

See it if you like theater and alternative productions. classic play, great adaptation, solid acting. overall a poignant, clear storytelling.

Don't see it if expect everything to be technically well-polished. it's also two hours plus an intermission..

Absorbing, Ambitious, Great acting, Refreshing, Entertaining

See it if You like intimate works with excellent acting and directing at a really affordable price.

Don't see it if You don't like being too close or if you don't like Chekhov. Although this production is not too morbid!

During previews
Intelligent, Thought-provoking, Resonant, Great writing, Disappointing

See it if you appreciate complex character relationships, authenticity, in classic Russian drama by experimental company in lovely period space

Don't see it if you do not appreciate Chekhov plays, racially unrealistic albeit PC casting, uneven cast abilities, wooden acting by some, sitting 2.5 hours

During previews
Ambitious, Enchanting, Intelligent

See it if you appreciate a good modern language adaptation of a classic and don't mid a low budget and non-proscenium production.

Don't see it if you want a lavish production. But this is a solid, charming off-off-Broadway effort with some very strong performances (and some weaker).

During previews
Ambitious, Clever, Entertaining

See it if You're open to updated language in classic plays.

Don't see it if You don't like non-traditional casting. You're bothered by actors doing the set changes.

During previews
Clever, Great acting, Intelligent, Great writing

See it if Great show.

Don't see it if n/a

During previews
Absorbing, Great acting, Slow, Entertaining

See it if You like plays in an intimate setting. You want to be entertained. You want to see some good acting. You like simple effective staging.

Don't see it if You don't like plays in intimate settings. You are not interested in hearing a story about actors or potential actors and writers.

During previews
Funny, Clever, Quirky, Great writing, Entertaining

See it if you like Chekov, intimate & quirky productions, a play about writers and actors and family.

Don't see it if You don't like Chekov or small productions. Despite the low-budget, it was well-staged & directed.

Also The acting is uneven as other reviews have noted, though there are som... Read more Read less

Cast & Creatives (17)