Friday, March 27, 2015

Boston Public Works Theater Company Presents "From The Deep" by Cassie M. Seinuk - See It This Weekend At Boston Center for the Arts

Playwright Cassie M. Seniuk has written an intriguing new work that examines many facets of terror and loss of freedom.  Under the steady directorial hand of Lindsay Eagle, two actors reveal multiple layers of themselves as their time of incarceration together lengthens.  Charles Linshaw portrays Ilan, a political prisoner and Jeff Marcus is Andrew,  a university student who has been swept up off the street and imprisoned for unknown reasons.   Both actors are superb in portraying the terror and boredom of indeterminate incarceration.

Megan Kinneen has envisioned a set and props that are well-designed to indicate many aspects of the experience of being locked up.  The set is off-white, suggesting layers of dust to indicate the slow passage of time as well as evoking the monochromatic nature of endless days spent in confinement. VHS tapes and various props also reinforce the theme of incarceration and its impact.  A Russian nesting doll sits upstage, reminding us that as the impact deepens of two souls bumping up against one another over time in forced close proximity, layers of their back stories and characters will be revealed. Two clocks indicate the separate passage of time for each of the prisoners.  Lighting by Chris Bocchiaro, Costumes by Stephanie Brownwell and Sound by Mike Stanton enhance the sense of isolation and incarceration.

The play reminded me of elements of "Waiting For Godot," as well as Sartre's "No Exit."  Ilan and Andrew have very different philosophies of how they should pass their time.  Ilan, played by Mr. Linshaw with a flawless Israeli accent, relies on constant activity and structure - exercise, ping pong, memory games - to keep his emotions under control and his time structured.  Andrew prefers to sit on the couch and let the time pass.

Ms. Seinuk was inspired to write this play in part by the story of Gilad Shalit, an Israeli POW who was released in 2011, and by the story of a university student who went missing from the streets of Boston.  By placing these two kinds of victims together in a fictional setting, she challenges us to examine the many ways in which loss of freedom can erode the human spirit, - or strengthen it.

If you wish to see this provocative and well-conceived play, head to the BCA this weekend for one of the final performances.

Boston Public Works Theater Company Website




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