When James Bohnen began Remy Bumppo Theatre Company 16 years ago, he wanted to go in with a bang—to start with Edward Albee's Seascape. It was a natural choice—a Pulitzer Prize-winning script and giant lizards. One small problem—he couldn't get the rights.
Bohnen instead went out with a bang, making his final production before retirement Albee's The Goat Or, Who is Sylvia?, which won multiple 2011 Jeffs, including Best Production.
Long-time Remy Bumppo Artistic Associate Nick Sandys succeeded in obtaining rights to Seascape to open his first full season as the theatre's Artistic Director, themed "The Marriage Game: Truth and Consequence?" Sandys will be directing the production, his first time to direct Albee since doing The Zoo Story in Texas in 1989.
Seascape runs September 12 through October 14, 2012, at the Greenhouse Theater Center, 2257 N. Lincoln Ave. Press night is Monday, September 17 at 7:00 pm. Single tickets go on sale August 1 at www.remybumppo.org or by calling the Greenhouse at 773-404-7336.
Sandys finds Albee's work particularly challenging. "The text is so demanding, it will keep you busy the whole time. Mr. Albee is always in the room," he says. "He's the only writer I know who can create a powerful personal scene and throw in jokes without compromising the play itself." Sandys calls Seascape "entertaining, witty, and moving."
In Seascape, a very human newly-retired couple basking on a beach find themselves confronted by a young giant lizard couple, who just happen to speak excellent English. The humans are debating escaping to the sea, the lizards are in the long process of escaping from it, and their interactions cover evolution in a myriad of senses.
Playing the human female is Remy Bumppo Artistic Associate Annabel Armour, who won a Best Actress Jeff for The Goat. Her husband is played by Patrick Clear, whose work at Remy Bumppo includes Tartuffe in 2006 and Bronte in 2008. Surprisingly, given the long record of roles for Armour and Clear on Chicago's top stages, they haven't worked together in about 20 years - though Sandys has worked extensively with both.
The lizards aren't just newcomers on land, they're newcomers to Remy Bumppo. Sean Parris, a 2011 DePaul MFA, seen this year in Chicago Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream, has the role for which Frank Langella won a Tony in the original Broadway production. Emjoy Gavino, recently seen in Hair at Paramount Theatre and Working at Broadway Playhouse, plays the mother of 7,000 eggs. (Actor headshots are at the end of this release.)
The set, created to fully use the Greenhouse's upstairs mainstage space, is designed by Angela Weber Miller. Costumes are by Rachel Laritz, original music and sound by Victoria Delorio, and lighting by Michael McNamara, with Jenny Pinson handling props. Samantha L. Symon is Stage Manager.
Remy Bumppo's annual kick-off event, the Season Salon, will be held at the Greenhouse Theater Center Monday, August 27. Chicago Public Radio's Alison Cuddy will moderate discussions about the season's shows - Seascape, George Bernard Shaw's You Never Can Tell and August Strindberg's Creditors - with experts on matters pertaining to the plays.
(RSVP to the Salon at Events at www.remybumppo.org, $15 donation requested at the door.)
Saturday, Sep. 29, 1:30pm: Between the Lines pre-show conversation with expert(s) on the play, followed by a 2:30 curtain and a post-show discussion.
Cast: Artistic Associate Annabel Armour, Patrick Clear, Emjoy Gavino and Sean Parris
Production Team: Seascape is directed Remy Bumppo Artistic Director Nick Sandys, with scenic design by Angela Weber Miller, costumesby Rachel Laritz, original music and sound by Victoria Delorio, lighting by Michael McNamara and properties by Jenny Pinson. Samantha L. Symon is Stage Manager.