The Weekly Ringer

The University of Mary Washington Student Newspaper

Inspired Design Breathes Life Into ‘Seascape’

3 min read

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UMW’s “Seascape” is a mostly successful, well-realized play. With that in mind, the subject matter may not exactly appeal to college students.

That’s not to say college students shouldn’t see it. There are definitely lessons for our demographic to take away from the play, but they may not be as entertained as someone who’s actually been in a long marriage.

The first half of “Seascape” is a dialogue between a married couple. Nancy (freshman Lauren McGrath) is a dreamer who constantly talks about where her life could still lead her, with or without her husband, Charlie (junior David Presgraves), who seems content to spend the rest of his life relaxing.

Both have good points, but neither really makes headway. What happens next might be put best in the words of senior Sarah Jachelski, “When the passion subsides, the lizards emerge.”

Before I get into everything else, however, I have to first mention the incredibly impressive beachfront set. The whole thing, from the sand-colored fabric to the plants sticking out of the ground and the gorgeous sky all perfectly evoke the feeling of being at a beach.

While it would have been cool to see real sand on the stage, one would imagine that would be almost impossible to clean up, plus the fabric does the job well enough.

But even with such a cool set, there still would need to be real movement to keep the audience engaged. Thankfully, the actors all move around the stage rapidly, making very good use of the available space. In particular, the physical comedy of junior J.B. Bridgeman as Leslie the lizard is noteworthy.

Unfortunately, my biggest criticism of the play is also with the actors. In particular, I took issue with how the two human leads delivered their lines.

Their delivery was pretty forced, sounding much more like actors delivering lines than characters interacting with each other.

I don’t blame the actors themselves, since it’s nigh impossible to accurately judge your own acting, but someone should have caught the unnatural delivery during rehearsals.

Furthermore, the play calls for people that are near retirement age, but no attempt was made to age these characters.

As a result, I had assumed that the two humans were a middle-aged couple at best. The play made a lot more sense once I found out they were an older couple. This could have been solved just by graying their hair a bit.

Going along with that, the play’s subject matter is clearly tailored toward an older crowd.

“Seascape’s” themes, particularly the struggle between choosing an adventurous life or a comfortable one, can certainly connect with college students.

Unfortunately, the characters might not be as identifiable to a UMW student, who has probably not been married at all, much less for several decades.

The sharp writing of playwright Edward Albee still truly shines through though.

There’s real depth to the dialogue and events of the play. But all of this goes without saying; Albee won a Pulitzer for his work here.

The bottom line is that while “Seascape” has its problems and might not appeal to everyone, you might just find yourself having a good time in the Klein Theatre. The show plays until Feb. 19.

[Photo credit: Marie Sicola]