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Sometimes, a Lizard Is Just a Lizard … But Not in Edward Albee’s 1975 Pulitzer Winner, “Seascape”

South Stream Productions' cast for "Seascape" includes (from left) Julie Oliver, John Honeycutt, Samantha Corey, and Ryan Brock (photo by Patrick Campbell)

South Stream Productions’ cast for “Seascape” includes (from left) Julie Oliver, John Honeycutt, Samantha Corey, and Ryan Brock (photo by Patrick Campbell)

One of the themes of South Stream Productions’ current presentation of Seascape is communication, a constant melody throughout Edward Albee’s work; and it is interesting that the chemistry of the actors in this production is so symbiotic. A nice irony. The story itself is both real and far-fetched; a couple facing retirement, arguing over what to do with this expanse of time ahead of them, and a pair of evolving lizards emerging from the sea, also discussing their future. So, questions about human influence on evolution are among the themes that Albee raises.

Critics generally report that this play is comedy, satire, absurdist, or all of the above. It is certainly both a lot of fun and philosophically provocative. Charlie and Nancy spend an afternoon on the shore, attempting to decide what do with their future. For Charlie, the answer is “nothing.” He’s done what he had to do in life and is ready to rest. Nancy wants to travel, visit every beach in the world, evolve; and so they argue in dissatisfaction over petty things. Toward the end of Act I, they are accosted by two human-sized lizards, Leslie and Sarah, who preposterously speak English. And then the fun really begins.

John Honeycutt, a familiar presence in Triangle area theater, offers us a laid-back, genial Charlie, newly retired and content with his life. Honeycutt demonstrates that Charlie loves his spouse through his connection with Julie Oliver’s Nancy. Although they don’t agree, they seldom exchange cross words; even their argument is non-hostile, almost tender. Oliver, in turn, maintains a palpable warmth with Charlie; notable facial expressions and body movements hallmark her performance.

Julie Oliver and John Honeycutt star in "Seascape" (photo by Patrick Campbell)

Julie Oliver and John Honeycutt star in “Seascape” (photo by Patrick Campbell)

Ryan Brock is an imposing figure as the humanoid lizard, Leslie, definitely more reptilian than man, with a stance, when erect, that is ominous. Samantha Corey brings a sense of the personal to her presentation of Sarah, a feeling of impending transformation in actions which come from kindness and caring, without the character’s awareness of those emotions. And the two slither better than any lizards ever!

Director/co-producer Brook North has kept the atmosphere light, and the action swift and well paced. The stage is sparse, and neat; and his production staff, which includes set and lighting designer Todd Houseknecht and costume designer Shannon Clark, have done an outstanding job. The sand dune is not imposing, but looks natural and almost real. The green-and-yellow lizard outfits and makeup establish two believable critters with no garish exaggeration, and the lizards’ tails work well.

We wish to acknowledge the moving on of Rachel Klem, founder and guiding hand of the Common Ground Theatre, an exciting venue that has supported over 300 productions in the past eight years, and to wish a hearty “Welcome!” to Devra Thomas, who needs no introduction to audiences of the Triangle area. Devra has credits over the past six years at the Deep Dish Theater Company and the Orange County Arts Commission, both of Chapel Hill, as well other venues.

SECOND OPINION: Jan. 6th Raleigh, NC CVNC review by Alan R. Hall: http://cvnc.org/article.cfm?articleId=6556; and Jan. 6th Raleigh, NC News & Observer review by Roy C. Dicks: http://www.newsobserver.com/2014/01/06/3510830/funny-seascape-delicately-balances.html.

South Stream Productions presents SEASCAPE at 7:30 p.m. Jan. 9-11, 3 p.m. Jan. 12, 7:30 p.m. Jan. 16-18, and 3 p.m. Jan. 19 at Common Ground Theatre, 4815B Hillsborough Rd, Durham, North Carolina 27705.

TICKETS: $16 ($12 for students, seniors, and active-duty military personnel).

BOX OFFICE: 919-417-2477, southstreamproductions@gmail.com, http://seascape.brownpapertickets.com/, and http://southstreamproductions.blogspot.com/p/box-office.html.

SHOW: http://southstreamproductions.blogspot.com/p/seascape.html and https://www.facebook.com/events/652428014807521/.

PRESENTER: http://southstreamproductions.blogspot.com/ and https://www.facebook.com/SouthStreamProductions.

VENUE: http://www.cgtheatre.com/ and https://www.facebook.com/pages/Common-Ground-Theatre/149219561884761.

DIRECTIONS: http://cgtheatre.com/directions.

OTHER LINKS:

Seascape (1975 Pulitzer Prize for Drama-winning Broadway play): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seascape_%28play%29 (Wikipedia).

The Script: http://books.google.com/ (Google Books).

Study Guide: http://www.milwaukeerep.com/education/documents/SeascapeSG.pdf (Milwaukee Repertory Theater).

Edward Albee (American playwright, born 1928): http://www.albeefoundation.org/ (Edward F. Albee Foundation), https://www.facebook.com/EdwardAlbeeSociety (Edward Albee Society), and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edward_Albee (Wikipedia).

Brook North (director): https://www.facebook.com/brook.north.5 (Facebook page).

EDITOR’S NOTE:

Martha Keravuori is a life-long theater artist — an actress, director, and stage manager — in North Carolina, around the country, and overseas. She has a theater degree from UNC-Greensboro, and has been active in the arts in Raleigh for the past 40 years. Martha is the retired executive director of the North Carolina Theatre Conference. Chuck Galle returned to Raleigh last year after a 17-year absence. He was active in community theater for many years, and directed the troupe of maximum-security inmates at Raleigh’s Central Prison known as the Central Prison Players. In New England, he performed on stage, on TV, and in films. He is the author of Stories I Never Told My Daughter — An Odyssey, which can be ordered on his website: http://www.chuckgalle.com/. Chuck Galle and Martha Keravuori review theater for Boom! Magazine of Cary. This is their first review reprinted in Triangle Review. To read more of their reviews for Boom! Magazine, click http://www.boomnc.com/category/boom-bits-reviews-books-movies-music-misc/live-theatre/.

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Categorised in: A&E Theatre Reviews, Lead Story, Theatre