The all-star staging of The Seagull in Central Park isn't North America's only starry cast of that Chekhov play. The Stratford Festival in Ontario has three of Canada's major players — Martha Henry, Brian Bedford and Peter Donaldson — in a revival opening Aug. 14.
While Meryl Streep plays mother and renowned actress Arkadina south of the border in The Public Theater's Delacorte Theater revival of the Tom Stoppard translation (said to possibly move to Broadway), Martha Henry essays the part on the proscenium Avon Theatre stage at Stratford. The Stratford company is also using the Stoppard version. Previews began July 31. The opening performance is a 2 PM matinee.
Brian Bedford, the Tony Award-nominated classical actor whose artistic home is Stratford, plays Sorin (Arkadina's brother), and Donaldson is Trigorin (Arkadina's lover). Michael Therriault is wounded Konstantin (Arkadina's son, who loves Nina), Brian Tree is Shamrayev (the estate manager), Sarah Dodd is Masha (in love with Konstantin) and Michelle Giroux is Nina (who runs off with Trigorin). Rod Beattie (known for performing the popular "Wingfield" plays in Canada — including a production of Wingfield on Ice that begins Stratford performances the evening of Aug. 14) plays Dr. Dorn. Lally Cadeau is Polina and Aaron Franks is Simon Medvedenko.
The cast also includes David Hogan as a Workman, Andy Pogson as Yakov, Tara Rosling as the Cook and Tracy Thomas as the Housemaid.
Diana Leblanc directs the production. Performances continue to Nov. 3. Astrid Janson is the designer, with lighting design by Louise Guinand. Todd Charlton is sound designer.Stephen Woodjetts composed the music. For information, call (800) 567-1600 or visit www.stratfordfestival.ca.
— By Kenneth Jones