Stagecrafters 2nd Stage to Present Edward Albee's SEASCAPE
"It's not too often you go to the beach and end up engaging in a conversation with two talking lizards regarding evolution, devolution, the human and the reptile experiences, as well as the meaning of life!" says director Jay Kaplan of Oak Park of Stagecrafters' upcoming offering, Seascape, by Edward Albee, running on Stagecrafters 2nd Stage, April 21-30, 2017.
A meeting between a human couple and a lizard couple, each going through a transition in their respective lives, is the impetus for an exploration of evolution, whether of a relationship or a species, in this provocative, Pulitzer Prize play.
Kaplan describes the play as being both part fantasy and very intimate. "Of course, people are intrigued and amused by the idea that the show has talking lizards. I too was always interested in the premise of having lizards that talk on stage since I first read the show in college," says Kaplan. "But beyond that, the play has a number of important things to say - and I'm always drawn to shows that have a message aside from just being entertaining," he says of the show, which focuses on discussions between the four characters rather than being plot driven.
Charlie and Nancy (Bruce Thorburn of Waterford and Jane MacFarlane of Pleasant Ridge, respectively) are empty nesters at a crossroads regarding how they will spend their impending retirement. Charlie, once adventurous, is now content with inactivity. Meanwhile, Nancy is open, curious, and active.
The couple is spending the day at the beach when they meet a lizard couple, Leslie and Sarah (Salvatore "Sal" Sbrocca of Shelby Township and Rachel Keown of St. Clair Shores, respectively). The lizards, no longer fitting in at the bottom of the sea, have come to explore life on land but struggle to understand human ways.
"The playwright's message in the play is that we, as humans, as a species, either evolve or devolve in order to survive and to adapt to challenging and difficult times. The lizards are there because they are creatures who have come out of the sea and are exploring life on land for the first time. The lizards are evolving, while Nancy and Charlie, the human married couple, are facing the idea of their mortality as they have grown older. Can both sets of couples, both lizard and human, evolve in response to their changing situations? Or will they devolve by going back into the sea and/or shutting down their lives?" says Kaplan.
"To portray the lizards, the actors will be costumed and made up to look like lizards and their movements and physical actions will be lizard-like. However, their way of speaking and personality characteristics are very similar to their human counterparts: ego driven and with insecurities, curiosity, enthusiasm, hurt feelings, etc. The difference with the lizards is that they don't have an awareness of their emotions and/or the ability to define them ... just yet," he says.
Kaplan made the decision to use very literal looking lizard costumes. "I wanted to show to the audience that even these creatures who look so different from human beings can have needs, wants, and feelings that are similar to the ones that human beings face. They look so different, but are also so similar," he says.
Seascape opened on Broadway on Jan. 26, 1975, at the Shubert Theatre and ran for 65 performances to close March 22, 1975. It was nominated for three 1975 Tony Awards, including Best Play, and won for Best Featured Actor in a Play (Frank Langella). It also garnered the 1975 Pulitzer Prize for Drama. A revival opened on Nov. 21, 2005, and ran for 55 performances to close Jan. 8, 2006. It received two Tony nominations, including Best Revival of a Play.
The final dress rehearsal, 8 pm on Wednesday, April 19, is open to the public as a "Pay-What-You-Can" (PWYC) night. The admission price is at the discretion of the patron. There are no advance sales and doors open at 7 pm and close at 8 pm (no late seating). Patrons are encouraged to pay cash; credit/debit cards require a $5 minimum. Admission is general seating; first come, first served with no refunds/exchanges.
Seascape is rated PG-13. Show tickets are $20 for all performances. Students with ID may purchase half-price tickets for the Thursday, April 27, performance. Tickets may be purchased online at stagecrafters.org (online handling fees apply), or by phone at 248-541-6430, using Visa or MasterCard. All seats are reserved and there are no refunds or exchanges on individual tickets. If shows have not sold out, tickets can be purchased at the box office one hour prior to the performance. The Baldwin Theatre is located at 415 S. Lafayette in downtown Royal Oak. The show runs approximately two hours.
Show dates and times are as follows:
Wednesday, April 19 at 8 pm PAY-WHAT-YOU-CAN NIGHT
Friday, April 21 at 8 pm
Saturday, April 22 at 8 pm
Sunday, April 23 at 2 pm
Thursday, April 27 at 8 pm HALF-PRICE STUDENT NIGHT
Friday, April 28 at 8 pm
Saturday, April 29 at 8 pm
Sunday, April 30 at 2 pm
Stagecrafters, a 501 (c)(3) not-for-profit community theatre, is in its 61st year of providing opportunities for members of the community to develop their talents and to volunteer their time to create an enriching, quality theatrical experience through its Main Stage, 2nd Stage, and Youth Theatre productions. At the Baldwin Theatre since 1985, Stagecrafters has been named Best Community Theatre by Hour Detroit, Detroit Metro Times, and Daily Tribune. In 2017, the 2nd Stage production of Trevor won Michigan AACTFEST awards in the Outstanding Featured Actor, Outstanding Actor, and the Golden Truck categories.
Stagecrafters offers shows that appeal to a wide variety of ages and interests and prides itself on providing professional quality shows at affordable prices, making the performing Arts Accessible to individuals in our "regional" community.