The Jurkowitz Theatre at SBCC was a fittingly intimate venue for this drama about the knots of love and its evolution. The story follows a mature married couple, Charlie (Andrew Grenier) and Nancy (Marion Jessup Freitag), to the bluffs overlooking the seashore as they discuss their varying ideas of the way they each would like to spend their retirement years.
Seascape, by Edward Albee at SBCC’s Jurkowitz Theatre.
Thursday, May 3, 2007
When the show brings these human characters together with two sea monsters, Sarah (Tiffany Story) and Leslie (Brian Harwell), a fantastic foursome of marital consciousness unfolds. By fusing the absurd with the philosophical, and channeling the future fears of young playgoers while echoing the thoughts of the more mature, Seascape explores new frontiers. Each pair-the humans and their new friends the sea lizards-must separate from a world they are comfortable with and try something new.
At times the couples’ back-and-forth banter becomes difficult to follow. With questions ranging from the anatomical differences between human and lizard arms and legs to high-brow discussions of philosophies, this is a challenging work by any standard. Void of context, one could assume it takes place during a time similar to our own in which the questions posed by the theory of evolution remain incessant. The prosthetic lizard costumes designed by Mary Gibson make a clever comparison between the complicated exteriors of the monsters and the equally complex interiors of their human counterparts.
The beach hillside set, with its bright white sand, is overpowering and almost blinds you. Scenic and Lighting Designer Patricia L. Frank has transformed the black box space into a paradise that, void of any clouds, has a touch of sterility to its perfection. This exposure of open skies makes vulnerable the players’ hearts, and their isolation catalyzes a bitter dialogue filled with overwhelming epiphanies. The humor of the play, especially when coupled with its modern philosophies and contemporary dilemmas, allows it to touch on many societal problems in artful and interesting ways. Albee questions the human tendency to over-think things, and shows how in some ways the love of the monster-lizards appears to be void of this sort of intense self-scrutiny, and functions the better for it.