Notes

Chekov’s The Seagull in Sims

Helen Shaw considers Celine Song’s staging of Chekov’s The Seagull in Sims 4. “I kept trying to work out why the show, which was often extremely goofy, succeeded so much at enveloping me, in a way that other interactive and virtually ‘immersive’ shows have not. I think Song’s game-play/play-game managed the trick by capturing the experience not of going to a show but of working on one. At her urging, viewers brought the quality of attention that comes with collaboration, and that felt like a churning motor under everything, trying to propel the show into being. It also meant that Song could draw on not just her own deep knowledge of the play, but the group’s, which amounted to thousands of hours of thinking, all of distilling generations of scholarship and criticism and production knowledge. Our long familiarity with the text presented itself as jokes in the chat about Masha’s outfit, but all that super-dense knowledge has a gravity too. And finally, it alleviates this awful season’s loneliness to think of the million minds that have pored over this same play for 125 years. We’re living in a moment when people are asking why we revive the old stuff, and what value we find in the canon. The Seagull on The Sims 4 has an answer.”

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