Chicago Theatre Review
When Was the Last Time You Met a Lizard at the Beach?
Nick Sandys introduces himself as the new Artistic Director of Remy Bumppo with a strong, comical and eye-catching play. Edward Albee’s Seascape looks at the interpersonal relationships of two couples entering transitional periods in their lives. A human couple bickers over what to do now that their children are grown, and whether that means life is over or just beginning. So logically, Albee introduces them to a giant lizard couple, also debating their future; they are exploring the possibility of evolving to become land creatures. This makes for a witty parallel between the couples and the difference between men and women, despite their species.
Some productions of Albee’s plays can be long, drawn-out dialogues between characters who are hard to care about. However, for a director who knows Albee’s work well, it is often an eager challenge to modernize his work and allow the audience to relate to it. Sandys has surpassed all expectations and delivers a production of Seascape that highlights the comedic normality of two people on a beach, while also making a strong poignant statement about the fear that accompanies change in life.
Comedic roles can be tricky for an actor to master, but from the first moments of the play Annabel Armour, playing the human Nancy, makes it seem c
ompletely natural. Patrick Clear, who plays her husband Charlie, settled into his role as the play progressed. Sean Parris and Emjoy Gavino’s hard work clearly showed in their detailed lizard movements, capturing a sweet naiveté to pair with animalistic instincts.
In addition to the wonderful performances, Remy Bumppo’s design team achieved a picturesque realism. Walking into the Greenhouse Theatre’s upstairs mainstage feels like stepping into a vacation postcard. Angela Weber Miller’s scenery consists of a beautiful beachscape incorporating carved rocks, tufts of grass, and a scenic ocean view. Rachel Laritz designed costumes that are both believable and whimsical, complete with spiky tails that the lizards get to toss about. Michael McNamara’s lighting subtly transitions the beach from mid afternoon into sunset and early evening, accompanied by realistic beach sounds designed by Victoria (toy) DeIorio.
Overall the production is cohesive, entertaining and hilarious. I highly suggest you see Remy Bumppo’s production of Seascape. It is a great night of theatre.
By Edward Albee
Directed by Nick Sandys
Sep. 12 – Oct. 14, 2012
Greenhouse Theatre Center – Upstairs Mainstage
2257 N. Lincoln Ave.
Chicago, IL 60614
Student tickets are available!