Culture Magazine

Review: Seascape with Sharks and Dancer (Promethean Theatre Ensemble)

By Chicagotheaterbeat @chitheaterbeat

Review: Seascape with Sharks and Dancer (Promethean Theatre Ensemble)   
Seascape with Sharks
   and Dancer

Written by Don Nigro
Directed by Beth Wolf
at Live Bait Theatre, 3914 N. Clark  (map)
thru Dec 10  |  tickets: $20   |  more info

Check for half-price tickets 
   Read entire review



Bravura performances of smarmy characters


Review: Seascape with Sharks and Dancer (Promethean Theatre Ensemble)


Promethean Theatre Ensemble presents


Seascape with Sharks and Dancer

Review by K.D. Hopkins

I watched Seascape with Sharks and Dancer with a discomfiting feeling of recognition. Here is a play that shows the uncomfortable realities of how relationships evolve, destruct, and sometimes recover.

This production from the Promethean Theatre Ensemble steers away from the static notion of the woman rescued being so grateful that she falls in love with her savior.

Review: Seascape with Sharks and Dancer (Promethean Theatre Ensemble)
The play opens with the character of Tracy sleeping fitfully on a couch with the sound of rolling surf in the background. She is cocooned in a grungy blanket like a mermaid; that symbol of sexual allure never fulfilled. Anne Korajczyk plays the role of Tracy with a full careening tilt of madness and neuroses. All of Tracy’s damage is on the surface. She is combative. angry, imperious, and ungrateful to her rescuer Ben, played with sweetness and a lovely openness by Nick Lake.

Ben is a writer who works in a library and lives on Cape Cod. His home is a scene out of Woody Allen’s ‘Bergmann Period’ which was full of water metaphors and bleak character studies. Playwright Don Nigro explores the themes of family dysfunction and the search for freedom or redemption against the East Coast backdrop fraught with suffering intellectuals trapped in ordinary lives. Ben rescues Tracy from the surf when he believes that he sees her drowning. She claims to have been dancing and that he interrupted her reverie in the ocean.

Tracy is a most ungrateful guest who contradicts all of Ben’s attempts to comfort her. She snaps at him and catapults shards of criticism, sarcasm, and even combative violence in her perception of being trapped. Some of her quips are unnerving in their convoluted humor. Korajczyk is fearless in the role, as Tracy is not very likeable even when she tells the story of sharks as the basis for her treatment of people. Her revelation of how her hard shell was formed in childhood is sympathetic and deeply moving in describing her losses as a child. Still, I found myself wondering…why didn’t Ben throw this bitch back in the ocean at some point!

She uses her sexuality and plays on Ben’s empathetic and giving nature. It feels as if the playwright is reinforcing the stereotype of men getting turned on and used by crazy women. It’s the woman who destroys the man’s idyll of male solitude with her promise of an equally psychotic tumble in the sack.

I desperately wanted Ben to grow a set and tell her off but the character becomes too emotionally invested in her abuse. The reason for Ben’s acquiescence should be made more clear (other than that he is a really nice guy who has a Sir Lancelot complex).

Review: Seascape with Sharks and Dancer (Promethean Theatre Ensemble)
Review: Seascape with Sharks and Dancer (Promethean Theatre Ensemble)
Review: Seascape with Sharks and Dancer (Promethean Theatre Ensemble)

Nick Lake is heartbreaking in his performance of a man taking it on the chin no matter objections to the perceived motivation. He has a wonderful boyish and chivalrous quality as Ben. Tracy’s tirades and moodiness are so self-centered that Ben comes off as a battered – physically, mentally, and emotionally.

This production is directed by Promethean Ensemble member Beth Wolf. It is an admirable feat that could use some tightening up with the beats that the actors take. There are some tricky pauses between Tracy’s attacks and her waiting for a response. The ‘I dare you to disagree’ face takes on a touch of Grand Guignol that’s a bit jarring.

The set design by Mike Dunbar is exemplary, a perfect picturing of a writer’s life on Cape Cod. The tatty sofa and mangy blanket along side the desk and electric typewriter gave me visions of Kerouac. There is even a lovely window bench made for gazing at the sea.

Seascape with Sharks and Dancer is worth seeing for the bravura performances but steel yourself to be ticked off by the viciousness of one character and the bulldozing of the other.


Rating: ★★½



Seascape with Sharks and Dancer continues through December 10th at Live Bait Theater, 3914 N. Clark (map), with performances Fridays and Saturdays at 8pm, Sundays at 3pm.  Tickets are $20, and are available by phone (800-838-3006) or online at (check for half-price tickets at More information at  (Running time: play length, which includes one intermission)

Review: Seascape with Sharks and Dancer (Promethean Theatre Ensemble)




Back to Featured Articles on Logo Paperblog