Previews began April 21 and performances continue to May 12.
The staging is part of the first season of fully staged productions for the resident Equity TACT, which was previously known for its mission of concert readings of plays. That mandate changed in 2006. (For those who love the more presentational format, TACT also continues to offer concert readings in its separately programmed intimate salon series.)
In The Sea, "a wild storm shakes a quiet East Anglian seaside village and sets off a series of events that changes the lives of all its residents," according to TACT. "Set in 1907, just before World War I, The Sea is a fascinating mix of Bond's stark poetry, social insight, and high comedy — creating a play with Shakespearean sweep that is both riotously funny and touchingly poignant."
The cast includes TACT company members Jamie Bennett, Nora Chester, Richard Ferrone, Rachel Fowler, Delphi Harrington, Greg McFadden, Gregory Salata, with Lauren Bloom, Ruth Eglsaer, Timothy McCracken, Christopher McCutchen, Allen Read and Caroline Tamas. The creative team includes Narelle Sissons (set design), David Toser (costume design), Mary Louise Geiger and Lucrezia Briceno (lighting design), Daryl Bornstein (sound design) and Joseph Trapanese (original music).
Edward Bond, born in July 1934 to a working class family in North London, was a school dropout who began writing plays in the 1950s. In 1958 he was invited to join the playwrights group at the Royal Court Theatre in London. The Pope's Wedding, his first produced play, was presented in at the Court in a Sunday night "performance without décor" in 1962. The critical response was favorable. Bond's second play, Saved, launched him into the international spotlight. Presented in 1965, it takes a hard and uncompromising look at South London youths, who, suppressed by a brutal economic system, have lost sight of their humanity. Violent, promiscuous, and damaged, the characters descend into murder and waste; the play was banned by the Lord Chamberlain when Bond refused to make any deletions or changes to the text. The play opened on Nov. 3, 1965. It was a sensation. Within a year, the Parliament abolished stage censorship in Britain.
His plays include Narrow Road to the Deep North, Black Mass and Lear.
Theatre Row's Beckett Theatre is located at 410 West 42nd Street. The performance schedule is Monday at 7:30 PM; Wednesdays through Fridays at 7:30 PM; Saturdays at 2 and 8 PM and Sundays at 3 PM.
Tickets are $20. Please visit www.ticketcentral.com or call (212) 279-4200.
For more information about TACT, visit www.tactnyc.org.
TACT's mission is "presenting neglected or rarely performed plays of literary merit with a focus on creating theatre from its essence: the text and the actor's ability to bring it to life." Founded in 1992, its co-artistic directors are Scott Alan Evans, Cynthia Harris and Simon Jones.