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Edward Albee


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#1 Christian

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Posted 21 July 2009 - 08:32 AM

I’m heading tonight to a rehearsal of American Century Theater’s (ACT) production of Edward Albee’s “Seascape.” I haven’t had much exposure to Albee’s work other than the film version (many, amny years ago) of “’Who’s Afraid of Virginia Wolf?” and to ACT’s production, again, several years ago, of “A Delicate Balance.”

That production was influential in my theatergoing, inspiring me to become an ACT season ticket holder. Almost every play I’ve seen since has been an ACT production.
I’ll learn more about “Seascape” tonight, but I find the story description a bit … odd:

Part domestic drama, part satire, part science fiction and part philosophy debate, Edward Albee's Seascape tells the story of Nancy and Charlie, a troubled, aging American couple facing tensions in their relationship as they contemplate retirement. Their visit to an East Coast beach is enlivened by the unexpected appearance of another couple, Leslie and Sarah, who join them in wide-ranging discussions of trust, communications, human progress, evolution, empathy and more. The perspective of Leslie and Sarah is especially interesting, because they are large, scaly, humanoid sea-lizards, highly-evolved and considering a life-altering move from the ocean to the land.

The description concludes that “Seascape” “shows its famously acerbic and pessimistic playwright in an upbeat and playful mood.” Hmmm. The play sounds more bizarre than “upbeat,” but the intended tone should come through loud and clear tonight.
What do others think of “Seascape,” or of Albee’s other work?


#2 Christian

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Posted 07 August 2009 - 03:03 PM

I really enjoyed “Seascape” and am now eager to read some analysis of the play. It took a while to get going. Nearly the entire first act of this two-act play has a married couple talking about their frustrations with each other, but while the conversation flagged at a couple of points, it was engaging for the most part.

Once the lizards show up at the end of the first act, they pretty much take over the play. Much of this has to do with how visually stunning they are in relation to the human characters. It’s hard to take your eyes off them. I wonder if this was the case with the original production as well.

Also, unlike with many American Century Theater productions, I’m not sure why this play is so rarely produced today. It didn’t strike me as particularly dated, although there’s nothing strikingly contemporary about it either. I found myself wondering how a film version might open up the story, and why no one has ever attempted an adaptation.


#3 AtticScripts

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Posted 08 August 2009 - 09:03 PM

I generally like Albee's work - Woolf is one of my all time favorites, and I always include one of his works in the Drama Lit classes I teach. I appreciate how he takes a fairly simple conflict and finds a way to make it as striking as possible (like The Goat does with infidelity).

I don't know for sure, but my guess as to why Seascape isn't produced much would be the difficulty of the all sand set and making decent lizard costumes - along side the concern about weirding out the audience. I'm also not sure about why it hasn't been filmed, but my guess there would be lack of interest on Albee's part.