CHARLIE: It’s called flux. And it’s always going on; right now, to all of us.
SARAH (shy): Is it…is it for the better?
CHARLIE: Is it for the better? I don’t know. Progress is a set of assumptions.
Remy Bumppo presents SEASCAPE. Nancy and Charlie are a couple with grown children. Sarah and Leslie are a couple with grown children. Both pairs are grappling with the next phase of their relational development. The females want to explore new territories and experiences. The males are hesitant. They worry about protecting their mate in uncertain conditions. Although it sounds like a familiar human struggle, one of these duos has tails. SEASCAPE is the thought-provoking deconstruction of marriages and evolution of species.
Playwright Edward Albee matches up homo sapiens and reptiles for a clever emotional breakdown of the sexes. The lizards speak the language but don’t understand some human concepts. The witty dialogue explains love, discrimination, and boobies. Under the tight direction of Nick Sandys, this talented cast explore the great divide between man and reptile and man and woman. In the first act, Annabel Armour (Nancy) and Patrick Clear (Charlie) establish themselves as a husband and wife in conflict. Armour and Clear fight like an old married couple. Sometimes, they are petulant. Sometimes, they are loving. We see their decades of commitment and resentment start to unravel as they both stubbornly plant a flag in the sand. Cue the lizards.
Sean Parris (Leslie) and Emjoy Gavino (Sarah) are dune crawling, long-tailed, sea creatures. In costumes by Rachel Laritz, they initially appear bizarre and almost comical. But Parris and Gavino are so animated and loving in their physicality, I start to see them as this nice couple at the beach. Parris is particularly hilarious with macho instincts and tail pride. Gavino endears with a charming innocence and vibrant zest to learn more. The dynamic between the foursome is couples‘ counseling meets weird sci-fi. The acting is genuine and superb.
The vacation postcard-like set designed by Angela Weber Miller is an expansive seascape… naturally. Miller spills over her oceanside vision into 1/3 of the theatre seating with a multi-level dune with sand, plants and driftwood. It makes a slide entrance for the reptiles to slither down. Victoria DeIorio creates the audio-astic sounds of a secluded resort area… waves lapping, seagulls squawking and planes motoring. The illusion makes me want to take off my shoes and wade in.
This show opens up Remy Bumppo’s 2012/2013 season themed “The Marriage Game: Truth and Consequence?” The marital angst is a springboard for ongoing discussion between people in relationships post-show. SEASCAPE is four life stories in flux. And I do know. It is for the better. Ah, progress!
Running Time: Two hours includes an intermission
At Greenhouse Theater Center, 2257 N.Lincoln
Written by Edward Albee
Directed by Nick Sandys
Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays at 7:30pm
Sundays at 2:30pm
Thru October 14th
Buy Tickets at www.remybumppo.org
Production photograph courtesy of Johnny Knight.