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Seascape (1998)

Seascape (1998)
3.63 of 5 Votes: 5
0822210045 (ISBN13: 9780822210047)
dramatists play service, inc.
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Seascape (1998)
Seascape (1998)

About book: Edward Albee may be best known to many people for his play, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, but he has been a prolific playwright over many decades. Seascape was first produced in 1975. It too deals with issues of marriage and relationships but without the other play’s bitterness and rancor. Nancy and Charlie are a recently retired couple relaxing on a beach. Nancy is painting and Charlie is doing nothing, exactly what he wants to do during retirement. She, on the other hand, wants to begin doing lots of exciting things together now that they have no responsibilities. Most of the first of the two acts is spent with them reminiscing, reflecting on where they’ve been and where they are, and with Nancy trying to get Charlie to agree to do something adventuresome. Their relationship is a close and good one, but there are frustrations on both sides, and they know which buttons to push.Suddenly Leslie and Sarah arrive. They are humanoid lizards who have crawled out of the ocean seeking a new life for themselves, having increasingly felt that they no longer belong undersea. They speak English but have no experiences of phenomena on land and only limited understanding of concepts that humans take for granted. Nancy is intrigued by them, Charlie horrified. The play’s second act involves the gradual development of a relationship among the four and an initial shifting of assumptions and envisionings of a future.Each of the four characters has a distinct personality, and these are explored and portrayed with nuance and psychological credibility. Issues of alienation, fear, and even evolution are plumbed, although communication itself would seem to be the most important issue examined. Fantasy is used by Albee in a creative way.I found the play intriguing and highly enjoyable – I saw a performance of it this past weekend at the American Players Theatre in Spring Green, Wisconsin, and read it after returning home. Those playgoers and play readers of a certain age will be easily able to identify with the characters and situations and will probably find themselves reflecting constructively on their own lives.

Oh, Albee. I enjoy your bizarre and nonsensical plots and abrupt endings usually, but you got me so interested in this couple in the first act only to play around with your strange concept about fish creatures in the second act and never allowed me to come to any deeper understanding of the two human characters. Sure, I enjoyed your philosophical musings on what makes one human, but the best way to have showed that would have been to let us deeper into the tension between the married couple from the first act. Why did he love to swim out like that as a boy? Still, you won a pulitzer for this and I never actually saw it on stage, so I will give you the benefit of the doubt here that you knew what you were doing... still, fish creatures, really???
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Yes, but can you imagine seeing it on stage? I did recently. Most people cut out the 2nd act, the underwater act, which is the best part! But the play is waaaay too long with it in. I saw it with it in. The whole time I was sitting there I was thinking, gee. I certainly am glad this exists as a piece of literature, but there's no need to ever actually produce this play. It goes nowhere. It's fun to think about, but as far as action goes, they just stand (or swim) around and talk about their differences and what ultimately makes them the same. And I kept getting distracted by the unitards and tails.
SEASCAPE. (1978). Edward Albee. ****.tThis play by Albee explores lots of things, including the basic relationships between men and women, evolution, and bias. Nancy and Charlie are at a secluded beach, enjoying the sun and the water. The conversation finally gets around that Nancy would like to break out of their current life and go and live at various beaches of the world. Charlie, on the other hand, would be just as content to settle in to their current lifestyle. One has earned the right to rest. This is viewed as ‘settling’ by Nancy as the two begin to bicker. Suddenly, a strange couple appear on a near dune, having just come from the ocean. This is Leslie and Sarah. From their descriptions, they are likely lizards from the sea: scales, four feet, and a long tail. The two couples spar about a bit because they are mutually fearful of the other, but once that is over, they begin to explore each other’s lives. It turns out that Leslie and Sarah have just left the ocean because they were bored and wanted to live differently as they approached the end of their lives. Of course, they were very different from Nancy and Charlie, but they were very much alike, too. Interesting dialogs. Recommended.
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