Through November 1|
SEA MARKS Irish Classical Theatre Company/streaming
Theater lives in the world of unreality in which the stage is gathering dust today because of the reality of these COVID times.
Theater companies have either hunkered down, trying to look through the mists and foresee when the curtain can again rise or they are experimenting.
Alleyway recorded a series of one-character or small cast short plays.
Niagara University did a series of short pieces from Shakespeare, apparently shot with something like an I-Phone.
The Irish Classical has been doing Irish cultural shows.
Now, it’s switched to a two-character play, Gardner McKay’s “Sea Marks,” product of a man who was not only a writer but a real ocean seaman and even the star of a TV show about a South Pacific sailor.
It’s one of the most basic plots of literature, bringing together two different people of different kinds and the story is their collision.
Colm Primrose (Chris Kelly) is an aging fisherman on an island off Ireland, fighting the sea six days a week to bring in a small boat full of fish, working with the man who has raised him.
Timothea Stiles (Kristen Tripp Kelley) is a “girl” from rural Glamorganshire in Wales who has built a life and a career in Liverpool, working for a book publisher.
She goes to a wedding on Colm’s island and he sees her and falls in love.
He’s 45 and can only think about women.
He starts writing to her and she returns letters, for a year-and-a-half, until finally telling her there is another wedding and she should come again.
She does and they meet and talk and he agrees to come to Liverpool and she persuades him to bed down with her and the lonely fisherman likes the idea, admitting he has no experience.
Timothea is using Colm personally and professionally, turning some of what he wrote about life and the sea into a book he doesn’t know about until she brings some copies home and puts him to work signing them and doing PR work for the book.
He’s upset and drinking, and hoping to return to the life he knows, the lonely island and the sea, not the noisy urban life of Liverpool.
Then, his partner and surrogate father drowns when Colm isn’t in the boat with him.
The play concludes with Colm delivering a long monologue to a Liverpool literary society about the sea and the life of his island and returning to the sea.
He returns to the sea and to writing to Timothea.
Clearly, it’s the playwright talking of his own life-long love of open water.
The play is ideal for these restrictive times, two characters and for much of the first half those two characters aren’t together since they are writing to each other not speaking to each other.
Even when they are together in Liverpool, much of what goes on involves only one of them.
At times, “Sea Marks” seems like parallel monologues.
Director Fortunato Pezzimenti has two strong performers on the stage and he gets strong performances from them, in what are difficult roles.
It’s nice to see two pros like Kelly and Kelley back under the lights.
The TV crew which shot the production did a good, fluid job on a series of spare sets, prefiguring but never blocking the action or the cast, just like in the Andrews Theatre.
There is a problem with the sound, the audio, the words of McKay’s story.
On a daily basis, I know how complicated that can be, even when people aren’t moving much.
Here, they swirl around the stage and some of the editing goes from adequate sound levels to low levels.
Since it’s being videoed, I suspect the decision was made not to use highly-visible body mikes.
I know this was shot by a local movie company and the camera work shows that.
The audio is different and shouldn’t be because it was done by pros, although if it were a horror movie: Who would notice?” There’s a difference between the dialogue of a play and the screaming of a Halloween movie.
“Sea Marks” is worth seeing, not only because it’s a show but because it’s an interesting story with strong performances and looking at two people trying to get by and build a solid life.
Sign up for the streaming show.
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