Theater & Performing Arts

A Seagull in the Hamptons

When: Thursdays-Saturdays, 8 p.m. and Sundays, 5 p.m. Continues through May 2 2010

Maria is more than an archetypal overbearing mother; she's the type who eats her young. And, as interpreted by Trish Mulholland in Shotgun Players' intriguing new drama, A Seagull in the Hamptons, she is, at points, funny, sadistic, and vainglorious -- a striver who prioritizes her boy toy and her fading artistic career over family and morality. Mulholland is the true star of Seagull, an ensemble piece based on Chekhov's The Seagull. Conceived by playwright Emily Mann and directed by Reid Davis, this version intertwines several love triangles to show the frailty of human relationships. Maria shacks up with a best-selling author named Philip (Alex Moggridge), who has his sights on young Nina (Kelsey Venter), the love interest of Maria's son Alex (Liam Callister). Meanwhile, a smart Goth chick named Milly (Anna Ishida) nurses an unrequited crush for Alex, who seems ideal for her, since both of them spend the bulk of the play sulking. Moggridge is terrific as the untalented, self-important novelist who builds a cult of personality, but also gets under everyone's skin. Venter and Ishida balance their characters' ambitions with girl angst and guilelessness. Mann's script is self-consciously clever, juggling references to literary theory (Peter Brooks), New Yorker cartoons, and current movies. Complete with a beach-side set that magically morphs into a Manhattan living room (as envisioned by set designer Robert Broadfoot), this Seagull offers a fascinating spin on its predecessor. Through April 25 at the Ashby Stage (1901 Ashby Ave., Berkeley). 510-841-6500 or ShotgunPlayers.org

Rachel Swan

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