By Don Nigro
Directed by Beth Wolf
Produced by Promethean Theatre Ensemble
At Live Bait Theatre, Chicago
Two-hander explores trust, unconditional love and self-loathing
Prolific playwright Don Nigro (over 150 plays) penned Seascape with Sharks and Dancer in the 1970’s yet it still resonates today since it is a character sketch about two opposites bound together by human needs.
Ben (Nick Lake) pulls a young women out of the ocean one night and he brings her back to his beach house. Tracy (Anne Korajczyk) wakes up in full battle mode as she bickers with and insults Ben as he tries hard to show kindness and understanding despite the verbal and physical attacks by the self-loathing Tracy.
Much of act one finds Tracy being extremely argumentative and suspicious of Ben’s every move to aid the distraught ‘night swimmer.’ Ben is a loner librarian/novelist while Tracy is a sexy, gregarious dysfunctional college dropout. The two opposites attract as sparks fly as each battles through opening up to each other. Ben puts up with so many insults, ungratefulness and rude behavior that I wonder if he is the poster boy for unconditional love or for the ultimate wimp?
Seascape is a quirky romantic love story filled with raw emotions and strained credulity. Would Ben constantly put up with Tracy’s insults and combativeness? Is the sex with Tracy that good or is he the mensch from heaven? The drama explores fear, joy, pain that comes from the struggle for trust, acceptance and love. Tracy has trouble believing in unconditional love, Ben can’t help loving her despite the acts she does to push him away. As their relationship develops, Tracy behaves ever worse as she constantly tests Ben’s devotion, which only grows stronger with every nasty act on Tracy’s part. Ultimately, she can’t shake Ben’s love.
We grow to understand Tracy but we never quite empathize with Ben’s total devotion. Nick Lake has the composure and low key demeanor while Anne Korajczyk exudes the proper mixture of vulnerability and rage to make Tracy the true bitch from hell. This is a disturbing, yet honest look at the depths and traps of love. Learning to trust and to love can be difficult if one has major self-esteem problems. This play will jolt you.
Talk Theatre in Chicago podcast
Date Reviewed: November 8, 2011
For full show information, check out the Seascape with Sharks and Dancer page at Theatre In Chicago.
At Live Bait Theatre (former The Artistic Home), 3914 N. Clark Street, Chicago, IL, call 800-838-3006, www.prometheantheatre.org, tickets $20, Fridays & Saturdays at 8 pm, Sundays at 3 pm, additional performance on Thursday, Dec. 8 at 8pm, running time is 95 minutes with intermission, through December 10, 2011