As guests filed into the room for a special screening of The Seagull at Lincoln Center, Patti Smith was enthusiastic for Chekhov, and Christopher Walken nodded hello to guests that included John Cameron Mitchell, Lena Hall, Ben Shenkman, Patricia Bosworth and A. M. Holmes. Stephen Karam who adapted the classic for director Michael Mayer brought Jayne Houdyshell. Playwright of The Humans, Karam had not yet seen The Seagull with an audience, and seemed thrilled: everyone laughed in the right places. The Seagull is, of course, a tragedy.
Bening is stunning as Irina Arkadina in Ann Roth’s sexy, yet refined costumes, and can turn on a dime, registering boisterous celebration, hiding intense sorrow, and masking manipulation. In the movie’s final moments you hear a gunshot. You can guess what has occurred, the characters not yet, but Bening’s intuitive final look is indelible.
At Ristorante Lincoln for an after party, Bening said she loves this character, pointing out Chekhov loved her, cast the actress Olga Knipper, —and married her.