After yesterday’s quick fire questions with director Victor Sobchak about his upcoming production of Anton Chekov’s The Seagull at The Lion and The Unicorn Theatre, I also managed to grab a few moments with Dominic Debartolo, one of the leads in the show, to find out more about his involvement in this production.
HS: Who do you play in The Seagull and how does your character fit into the play?
DD: I play Konstantin. He is the son of the famous and well respected actress Arcadina. His mother has a successful career and urges him to prove himself as a young emerging playwright, but his idea of theatre and writing doesn’t quite fit in the society he lives in, therefore he struggles to emerge and establish himself with his symbolic and conceptual plays.
As odd as it may sound, he doesn’t really fit in the play, or at least with the other characters that surround him. He doesn’t want to fit in and never will, nor will the society he lives in fit his artistic life philosophy. That’s what the whole play is about.
HS: What was your first encounter of The Seagull?
DD: When I first started acting. I was 16 and I remember I was reading lots of acting books then, spending hours upon hours researching acting techniques instead of doing my school home work. It was when I was reading Stanislavski’s books that I first encountered The Seagull. I was very intrigued by the fact that Chekhov intended it as a comedy but it was only after Stanislavski adapted it into a tragedy that the play became successful. I sat there and read The Seagull all at once. It was the very first play I ever read and Konstantin was the very first character I ever wished to play.
HS: What’s the biggest challenge in playing Konstantin?
DD: He’s such a rebellious and stubborn character who has his own philosophy and religion and he’s not willing to compromise that for anyone apart from Nina. When the time comes for him to decide to either stick to his idealism and be destined to failure or give it up and integrate with the society he despises so much to try to succeed as the actor, I’ll have to make the audience understand why he chooses one rather than the other option. This is key to the play, and I feel it’s very tricky as there’s a lot of underneath information which needs to be fed to the audience from the very start, little by little, in order to justify Konstantin’s fate.
HS: If you could go back in time and see another production of The Seagull, which production would you watch?
DD: Definitely the National Theatre production of The Seagull in 2016, directed by Jonathan Kent. I read the reviews and saw the trailer and photos, and I only wish I had watched it back then. It would’ve been very valuable at this stage.
The Seagull opens at The Lion and The Unicorn Theatre on the 11th June. For tickets and more information please visit http://lionandunicorntheatre.co.uk/the-seagull-and-hamlet/
Until next time,