BWW Review: SEA MARKS AT KCAT at KCAT At Union Station
"Sea Marks" rides a high tide at KCAT
"Sea Marks", Gardner McKay's Irish romantic comedy now showing at KCAT in Union Station in Kansas City. The current production, directed by Jan Rogge, tells the story of an Irish fisherman (Colm Primrose) from a remote island village who in a chance encounter meets a Welsh woman (Timothea Stiles) who he falls in love with. Against neighborly advice, he begins sending her letters in an attempt to win her affection. Over the course of more than a year, she reads his letters with growing interest in this mysterious man (that she doesn't really remember meeting). His homespun stories of life in a seaside village stir her wounded heart and compel them to meet. As they explore this new found love they also are confronted by their differences in comical and sentimental ways. They struggle to make their reality match the hopes and dreams of what seems like an idyllic companionship. Over time they realize that the risks of love are much like the storm-tossed waves of the sea as they each seek to understand who they are, and where they belong.
Cinnamon Schultz, as Timothea Stiles, delivers a performance rich in authenticity. Schultz shows Timothea's nurturing side while simultaneously maintaining her individual drive to be successful. Her inner struggle to bring out the best in her man is written on every facial expression, yet the angst of knowing she doesn't want to leave the Liverpool and return to small-town life weighs heavily on her.
Darren Kennedy, as Colm Primrose, shows a man who at first seems just a simple "primitive" fisherman, but in reality, has far more depth and thoughtfulness than men of higher rank. Kennedy deftly slips back and forth from swarthy danger-loving seaman to eloquently poetic letter writer. He shows the challenges faced by a man who while rich in life experience is clumsily immature in face to face intimacy. Kennedy delivers a monolog which is both some of Mckay's best writing and passionately well acted.
Schultz and Kennedy glow with chemistry throughout the production. They quickly move from the early awkward meeting of these two unlikely lovers to the comfort of a warm and thoughtful couple. Each accepts the other's imperfections as if they are grasping to life like a life raft, yet they could not be any more perfectly right and wrong for each other at the same time. Schultz and Kennedy have a youthful energy with old soul chemistry and hit opening night like a gale forced wind. With comedic timing that flows like the Atlantic tide, this couple challenges the audience to understand that as beautiful as romance is, the sea of love is not so simple.A thoughtfully designed set by Gary Mosby (scenic designer) provides both a period backdrop and inviting acting space, Elizabeth Sampley (properties designer) gives vintage an authentic flare, Sarah M. Oliver (costumer designer) has everyone in the audience wanting to go out and buy either a red dress or a fisherman sweater, Shane Rowse (lighting designer) keeps the mood and moves the scenes knowing just where to draw focus, Jonathan Robertson (sound designer) provides a well composed and dynamic building effect, and Kyle Dyck (technical director) runs a smooth production on opening night without any apparent hiccup.
Tickets are between $15 and $40 and are available by contacting the Central Ticket Office at 816-235-6222 or online at www.kcactors.org.
"Sea Marks" will perform at Union Station's H&R Block City Stage. Performances run now through January 28th Audience talk-backs will follow performances on January 14th, 17th, and 26th.
Photographs courtesy of KCAT and Brian Paulette