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A stubborn husband who’s afraid to drift too far out of his comfort zone, a wife who’s less than happy with her unadventurous life, and a couple of talking lizards who have found that living on land isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, are a few of the offerings from Los Alamos Little Theater’s newest play, “Seascape.”
Roxanne Tapia plays Nancy, a woman who after raising her children, wants nothing more than to be a beach comber and drift from one sandy beach to another in search of adventure. Her husband, Charlie (played by Eric Bjorklund), however, is content with his idle life and keeps insisting that the couple has “earned some rest,” after raising their children.
Nancy and Charlie laugh, cry and argue on the sandy beach, never really resolving anything, but rather venting their frustrations to one another. Nancy continuously tells Charlie that she wants to explore new places, but the reluctant Charlie will not hear of it. He tells her that she wouldn’t be happy doing those things and says that all he wants to do is rest.
Throughout the play, the couple argue, make-up and argue some more. One minute they are cooing at each other, and the next they are having a spat, with Charlie insisting that all he wants to do is rest.
Nancy tries to get Charlie to consider being adventurous, but he refuses. All the while, Nancy has spotted some other people on the beach, who actually turn out to be a couple of giant sea-dwelling lizards, who, unhappy with their lives under the sea, decide to come up and live life on the beach.
Terrified, Nancy and Charlie pretend to be dead, but soon realize that Sarah (played by Jess Cullinan) and Leslie (played by Fred Berl), are equally curious about the human duo. Nancy chats up the lizards, as Charlie remains standoffish and unwelcoming to the green-scaled couple.
After a few introductory questions, Nancy begins to show Sarah and the reluctant Leslie what it means to be friendly. She shows the two how to shake hands and explains things to them, such as human reproduction, child rearing and marriage. The couples soon realize that they have more in common than they could ever have anticipated.
Though Nancy and Sarah are friendly, Charlie and Leslie remain standoffish and untrusting not only toward one another, but also toward their female counterparts. Charlie is afraid of the lizards, and even though Nancy is friendly enough toward Leslie, he still refuses to trust her.
As the two couples ask each other questions and get to know one another, the situation takes a violent turn when Charlie asks Sarah what she would do if Leslie left, and she knew he was never coming back. With a devilish grin, he pressures her for an answer, and even when she begins to cry, he still will not leave her alone.
The contemptuous comments from Charlie don’t stop until Leslie, enraged, grabs him by the throat and proceeds to choke the life out of him. Eventually, he lets go before Charlie’s demise, but Leslie has had enough of the “outside” world and decides that he and Sarah must go back home immediately. Nancy begs the duo to stay, offering them her help. The couple considers the offer, which signals the end of the play.
Not only are Tapia and Bjorklund convincing in their roles as a married couple, but Cullinan and Berl really get into their lizard roles.
Tapia and Bjorklund are passionate in their arguments. If one didn’t know better, you’d think they were actually married.
The set design is convincing and resembles the shore of a real beach. The sound of seagulls and waves crashing on the shore lends the imagination a hand, transporting you to the beach.
All in all, Edward Albee’s “Seascape” is a must-see not only for empty nesters, but also for any married couple who might think they’re alone when it comes to having different views and interests within their marriage.
The first half of the play is a little slow, but quickly picks up after intermission, when Sarah and Leslie take an active role.
I would not recommend this show for children or teens, however, as the content is more adult-themed.
Performances of “Seascape” are set for 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday and Nov. 19-20, and at 2 p.m. Nov. 14. All performances are at the Los Alamos Little Theatre. Tickets are $12 for adults, $10 for students and seniors and are available for advance purchase at CB Fox and also at the door 45 minutes before each performance.