THE T. SCHREIBER STUDIO

presents

THE WOMAN FROM THE SEA

by Spence Porter

Based on Henrik Ibsen's The Lady from The Sea

Directed by Terry Schreiber

 

T. SCHREIBER STUDIO

151 West 26 Street, 7th Floor

New York City

Reservations: (212) 741.0265; Tickets: TheaterMania

www.t-s-s.org

 

January 23 - February 23, 2003

 

Set Design: Hal Tine

Lighting Design: Joe Saint

Costume Design: David Toser

Music & Sound: Norbert Palej

Stage Manager: Parys Le Bron

Voice Coach: Deborah Carlson

Press Representative: Springer/Chicoine

With

Pete Byrne, Sterling Coyne, Margaret Dawson

A.J. Handegard, Debbie Jaffe, Fred Rueck

Tatjana Vujosevic, David Winton

 

Playwright Spence Porter has reworked Ibsenís 1888 THE LADY FROM THE SEA into the similarly titled THE WOMAN FROM THE SEA. Here, the action unfolds in the 1950ís. The time period does not seem to have been selected for any particular reason, save that it may represent an era in which women were slightly freer to make decisions that would steer their futures.

Ibsen is notable for his strong, complicated female characters. In my experience, the power of these dramatic creations had very little to do with the times and everything to do with the inherent mystique created by Ibsenís writing. So, Spence Porterís choice to move the setting of THE WOMAN FROM THE SEA does nothing, from my perspective, to ensure a modernization of the text. It does, however, allow him to perhaps update the language. In the United States, of course, Ibsenís plays are presented in translation, and a skilled interpreter can modernize the connotations.

As to the story itself, we meet a seaside nuclear family, the Wangels. There are two vivacious daughters, Bolette and Hilda (Tatjiana Vujosevic, Debbie Jaffe), who lounge by the sea and prepare for the birthday of their dear, departed birth mother. Their father, Dr. Wangel (David Winton) has remarried to a forlorn, if lovely, younger woman, Ellida (Margaret Dawson), who is the one that is referred to as "that woman from the sea." Thrown into the dramatic blender, we also find Boletteís former tutor, Daniel (Fred Rueck), a young suitor, Hans (Pete Byrne), an eccentric artist, Teddy Ballister (Sterling Coyne) and the mysterious Seaman (A.J. Handegard).

As expected, the distracted Ellida Wangel has secrets, a hidden past, and a heart of unrest. Her maturing step-daughters are drawing the attentions of men, with the eldest, Bolette, considering a proposal that will take her away from the family and off to a life of her own. Ellidaís past collides with her present. Ghosts emerge. Painful choices are made. For all the twists and turns, however, the action never treads into mysticism, and THE WOMAN FROM THE SEA remains firmly on solid ground.

Never breaking into fairy tale world it so tries to reach, Porterís THE WOMAN FROM THE SEA is, nevertheless, a respectful adaptation of a classic.

- Kessa De Santis -

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