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USM Theatre Presents The Seagull, or How to Eat It Opening on Feb. 22

Thu, 02/22/2024 - 03:15pm | By: Ivonne Kawas

USM Theater

The University of Southern Mississippi (USM)’s Theatre program presents its 2022 USM Blaine Quarnstrom playwright-in-residence Gab Reisman’s adaptation of Anton Chekhov’s classic dark comedy play The Seagull, or How to Eat It opening on Feb. 22 at 7:30 p.m. in the Gilbert F. Hartwig Theatre on the Hattiesburg campus. 

Performances continue on Feb. 23 and 24 at 7:30 p.m. and a matinée on Feb. 25 at 2 p.m. Price of admission is $8 for students; $15 for faculty, staff, seniors, and military; and $18 for the general public. The play is recommended for ages 18 and up due to its mature themes, including sexual content, self-harm, and simulated gunshot sound effects.

This production brings Chekhov's classic comedy to the isolated shores of Lake Pontchartrain. Characters want to escape to big cities in search of fame and fortune,” said Matthew James Ralph, a second-year MFA candidate in directing. "But as I learned from my own transient upbringing, the grandeur doesn’t mean they’re any less alone. I hope audiences will enjoy the roller coaster of emotions that these all too relatable characters will take them on.”

Layden Lacy, pursuing a Theatre BFA in design and tech, shares the unique experience of simultaneously designing costumes and working in a costume shop while balancing coursework.

“Costume designing as an undergraduate is rare, so the process of balancing classes and hands-on costume design work has provided valuable insights into my future as a designer, sparking excitement towards reaching my career goals,” said Lacy. “The design process for the show involved creating all the renderings for costumes and makeup, with the highlight being seeing one of my designs get built from scratch by MFA Costume Design candidate, Raven Harris. We got the opportunity to work closely on pattern and fabric selection throughout the process. Additionally, I wouldn’t have been able to make all of this happen without the assistance of my fellow colleague, Kade Neely.”

Harley Armstrong, pursuing a Theatre BA and serving as the assistant director of the show, reflects on the significance of this production as it marks the culmination of her undergraduate journey at USM.

“This production marks a significant milestone for me, as I culminate my undergraduate journey at USM,” said Armstrong. “As the assistant director of the show, I witnessed significant transformations in the production. Each show experience is unique, but with this being only the second time the show has been produced, we were able to shape and personalize it to make it our own.”

“The biggest lesson I learned throughout the rehearsal process is the impact vulnerability can have on the audience. This show demands a high level of honesty and authenticity from the actors; I am immensely proud of the raw and evocative story that has emerged.”

Laney Birchfield, pursuing a Theatre BFA in performance, says the production team really exceeded expectations and created something special that will be cherished deeply.

“I'm someone who really loves Chekhov and the way that he sets up his stories is beautiful to me. Finding the love and the humor within the bad points of life is something I take with me on the daily,” said Birchfield. “To top it off, getting to work with such talented actors, directors, designers, and production management has been wonderful. We've created something special that we will all hold near and dear to our hearts for years to come, and we hope the audience will cherish it as much as we do.”

Purchase tickets at the Southern Miss Ticket Office.