Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Winner, Loser in Shows about Human Condition

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Winner, Loser in Shows about Human Condition

Article excerpt

IN AN AMBITIOUS double bill, Orthwein Theatre Company and Orthwein Late Night have put together a pair of plays that explore nothing less than what it means to be human.

They do this to varied effect. One play is terrific - funny, touching and enlightening.

In the other production, the actors learned their lines. Edward Albee's "Seascape," OTC's mainstage production, won the Pulitzer Prize; this production, directed by Tim Storey, illuminates its tenderness as well as its intellect. Like Albee's most famous work, "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf," "Seascape" makes an encounter between two couples the starting point for questions ranging from the trivial to the profound: Who are you? Who am I? Who are we together? But unlike the corrosive relationships laid bare in "Virginia Woolf," "Seascape" offers the lyric possibility of redemptive love and kindness. And it does so with the kind of loose imagination you're less apt to associate with Albee than, say, Jim Henson. In "Seascape," one of the couples is human; the other is a pair of sea lizards. Storey and his able cast make us care about them all. The play opens as the human couple, Nancy (Jan Meyer) and Charlie (Steve Callahan) are lounging on a beach. They love each other, but somethi ng's missing. He's bored, she's restless, and they take it out in little squabbles. But just when you think you cannot bear one more moment of listening to their petty, well-worn grievances, a pointy green head pops over a sand dune, and the play's wild humor takes off. Sarah (Carolyne Hood, the artistic director of Orthwein) and Leslie (David Wassilak) are dissatisfied with their world, too, but have had the gumption to do something about it. They have climbed out of the water, determined to see things from a fresh point of view. At first, the couples are terrified of each other, and the males posture aggressively. But then their curiosity takes over. Conveniently, the lizards speak beautiful English, but there are many words they long to have explained; among them, "tools," "aerodynamics" and "love. …

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