The Seagull – A tragicomedy connecting the subject of the banality of life with the theme of art, intimate themes with artistic and social ones. Literature itself and related issues of professionalism and dilettantism come to the fore. It is not only the people trying to express themselves through art who suffer from a lack of values, however; everyone is sucked into a despairing vicious circle in which they lose their orientation. Konstantin Treplev, a young and ambitious playwright, is trying to attract the attention of his mother, the actress Irina Arkadina, and gain the love of a neighbouring girl, Nina Zarechnaya. An amateur production of his play, in which Nina appears, meets with failure. The naive girl then falls for the charming Boris Trigorin, a successful writer and Arkadina's friend. However, Konstantin is not the only one to be left with a broken heart. Almost all the characters are in love, but those whom they love do not love them. The Seagull combines the bitter comedy typical of Chekhov with an absence of action but also of character development, replaced by a two-year time gap between the third and fourth act. The similarity of the dramatic construction and the archetypes of the main figures mean that The Seagull is sometimes considered to be descended from Shakespeare's Hamlet. Konstantin Treplev is Hamlet, Treplev's mother, Irina Arkadina, is Queen Gertrude, and the writer Boris Trigonin King Claudius.
The Seagull is a remarkable variation on a classic theme on the position of the artist, a grotesque and visually-stunning meditation on the fundamental issues of human existence.
Vojtěch Varyš, Týden
Špinar's Seagull is also a major commentary on the phenomenon of Chekhov in the Czech lands, with a large number of references to the European theatrical context. The grotesquely exaggerated images are reminiscent of Lébl's production and its inspiration from the era of silent film. The black-and-white motif of birch trees is present in the light print of the side curtains. The motif of the play's title in destroyed Cyrillic script, falling off the wall and the arrangement of the second act on an "endless" white sofa does not hide its origins in the formal approaches of current German theatre. Such citations have a purpose here. Theatre, artistic forms and the process of creation are, in addition to the many types of unhappy love and loneliness, the strongest theme of Chekhov's play.
Marie Reslová, Hospodářské noviny
Špinar's direction is original, inventive, masterful. The precise stylisation of the characters corresponds to the theatre of the 21st century, and for all its cruel grotesqueness, does not come across as overly artificial.
Jana Soprová, Jana Soprová, ČRo 3 Vltava – Mozaika
The result is very much an actors' production, and this is entirely the director's aim. Alena Štréblová is an affected, self-obsessed but refined actress of a certain age. Nina Zarechnaya, as played by Dana Marková, represents impudent, inept, naive but innocent youth. And life is dealing her some hard blows. Masha, one of Chekhov's most tragic figures, is captured by Eva Nádaždyová in all her alcohol-drowned hopelessness and resignation (...) Štěpán Benoni's Treplev does not know how to keep his own thoughts in order. He is contemptuous of his surroundings, but lacks the will to make something of his life. He ends up – we know how. Arkadina's sick brother Sorin. Why not in a wheelchair?! Another excellent opportunity for Jan Potměšil. It is as if Chekhov had written Pyotr for him...
J. P. Kříž, Právo
About the director of the play "The Seagull": Daniel Špinar (b.⃰1979) – After studying acting, he also studied drama direction at DAMU. In 2002 he and colleagues from DAMU formed the Valmet Theatre. In 2003 he won the Reflex magazine's award for best performance at the Zlomvaz student festival. He attracted attention with his student productions, HOMO 06 or Who else is friends with gays (2006) and Visit From The Experts (a Bondy Hut project, 2007). He has also created successful dramatisations – his dramatisation of Dostoyevsky's The Brothers Karamazov in the DISK Theatre (2007) was nominated for an Evald Schorm award, while his play The Medea Affair (2010) was nominated for an Alfréd Radok award in the Text of the Year category.
In 2008-2010 he directed at the Vinohrady Theatre, where he staged Büchner's Woyzeck. The production won an Alfréd Radok critics' award in 2009. Since 2010 he has worked freelance, focusing on modern productions of classic texts. His productions include: The Salome Affair, 2009, A studio Rubín, Masquerade, 2010, Klicpera Theatre, Hradec Králové, Hedda Gabler, 2010, Švanda Theatre, Prague, The Seagull, 2010, The Miser, 2010, F. X. Šalda Theatre, Liberec, City Theatre, Kladno, The Medea Affair, 2011, A studio Rubín, To Be Or Not To Be, 2011, National Theatre, Prague, The Taming Of The Shrew, 2011, Summer Shakespeare Festival at Prague Castle.