by Peter Diamond
“Coastal Disturbances” by Tina Howe, directed by seniors Jack Reibstein and Nick Rodriguez, showcases enjoyable comedy and a stage covered in sand. The show goes up tonight through Saturday night at 7:30 in the little theatre.
The visual aspects of the play stood out. Senior Amalia Sweet, the scenic designer, transformed the little theatre into a charming New England beach in which a lifelike lifeguard chair and boardwalk stand in front of a beautiful mural of a cloudy sky. The entire stage is covered in sand in order to mimic a beach.
The protagonist is Leo, a romantic lifeguard, played by junior Ezra Dulit-Greenberg. In the first scene, Leo meets Holly, a photographer with a sorrowful past played by junior Deedee Elbieh, who is visiting the beach.
From the get-go, Dulit-Greenberg proves to be a versatile actor, as he delivers comedic one-liners and sensitive moments alike with fantastic honesty. He and Elbieh work well together in scenes, and their dialogues are driven by a mutual controlled energy.
Other beachgoers are later introduced, such as Holly’s friend Faith, played by junior Emma Hanselman, who has a young daughter Miranda, played by freshman Ellie Strayer.
Hanselman is especially impressive. Holly serves as the voice of wisdom in the play, providing Holly with optimism and advice. Hanselman does so by delivering short monologues masterfully in a way that gains not only Holly’s trust and interest, but the audience’s as well.
Faith’s friend Ariel, played by junior Bethany Lehman, goes to the beach with her eight-year-old son named Winston, played by sophomore Isaac Landman.
As the youngest characters in the play, Landman and Strayer provide the play with whimsical energy and command attention with uninhibited humor.
Junior Will Champion and sophomore Aiden O’Neal play Dr. “Hammy” Hamilton and M.J., respectively, an older couple that regularly visit the beach.
Champion and O’Neal provide some wonderful moments as well. They endearingly portray a typical old married couple who love each other unconditionally, despite how much they may annoy each other.
Once the audience is acquainted with all the characters, Leo confesses his love to Holly, and she is hesitant to reciprocate. He buries her in the sand until she accepts his love. Dulit-Greenberg and Elbieh’s realistic chemistry, as well as the creative and humorous use of the abundant sand, make this scene one of the most enjoyable of the play.
At the start of the second act, Holly accepts Leo’s love, and they begin a relationship. Unfortunately, their love reaches an obstacle shortly thereafter when Holly’s former lover Andre, a European photographer played by senior Jonathan Kim, arrives at the beach attempting to win back her love. Leo’s consequent sorrow, as well as Andre’s aggressive romance, make this act sensitive, honest and meaningful, which contrasts with the lighter first act.
From the first moment of Leo meeting Holly to the play’s dramatic conclusion, “Coastal Disturbances” is an uplifting and emotionally charged performance.
Tickets are $7 and sold at lunches and on theatreink.net.