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Salient. Official Newspaper of Victoria University Students Assn. Volume 40 Number 2. Feb 7 1977

Personnas and Primordia Soups: Seascape at Circa

Personnas and Primordia Soups: Seascape at Circa.

Seascape is the tragi-comedy of a personna in search of the face it is hiding but it is a janus face, end our personna is The Couple. Nancy and Charlie have for years dutifully masqueraded as the Good Wife, the Good Husband, the Good Parents. But retirement looms large and the long trusted masks are no longer adequate. This latest masterpiece by Edward Albee witnesses the attempts of the Couple to journey from brittle personnas to discovery of the Self. This psychological voyage is enacted on an isolated beach. The two harangue one another into awareness of what they could be if only they would stop being what they are. Yet this voyage of discovery is a return to the source of life.

In Seascape the symbol of the source is the sea and the immensity of its regenerative power. In his youth Charlie's one response to water was simply to sink to the bottom and to stay there as long as possible. Nancy seizes this past act as the symbol of Charlie's regneration, and tries to bully the now ridiculously flabby and unimaginative Charlie into resuming his undersea adventures.

The Couple, the Sea, sinking... the arena is archetypal where the male and female principles of the Collective Unconscious play out their drama. But in Seascape the archetypal roles of active and passive are reversed, and it is the woman who desperately tries to drag the man from spiritual menopause.

Felicity Day as Nancy ably performs her task as a kind of metaphysical nag, driving the reluctant Charlie (Lewis Rowe) to the knowledge that the lump of soggy existential spagetti which he is, could be different, merely by him seeing differently.

In Act II. two eminations from the reality which lies beyond the personna are suddenly manifest: from behind the rocks rise two "sea lizards". Eminations from the Unconscious, or as Charlie puts it later, from the "Primordial Soup — the Glop". However, eminations as they might be, they rejoice in the names of "Leslie" and "Sarah" (Garth Frost and Gillian Skyrime). A fascinating and entertaining mirror sequence begins. The need of the human couple to "go down" (or back) to the origins which the lizard couple respresent on the evolutionary scale, is reflected in the tentative explorations of the human world by the delightfully naive, yet knowing, Sarah and Leslie.

Photo of people sitting on rocks

The Circa production is competant in every respect — the set is ingeniously designed, the direction thorough, the acting fresh and intelligent. With one exception: both Felicity Day and Lewis Rowe seemed at times to be awkward in their body-expression — there was a sort of dislocation between their powerful and expressive voices and the wooden—ness of their bodies. Personnas? Perhaps. However, this is small fault in a generally able presentation of a demanding, script. This level of competance, together with the refreshingly natural and enthusiastic ambiance of the whole Circa scene, amounts to excellent theatre.

— Allan Smith