By Bob Evans
Kansas City Actors Theatre begins their 2018 offerings with a charming, hearty light romantic comedy, reminiscent of the movie You’ve Got Mail, but in this case, the postal service of Ireland and England fuel the chemistry between soon-to-be suitors, Colm and Timothea.
Colm, a fisherman and innocent, solitary, single, gentleman finds himself lonely but attracted to a young lady he saw at a wedding reception. Through friends, he discovers her name and address which sparks a letter of introduction from him to her. Her response triggers more and more letters and the building of a heartfelt relationship. Over the course of several seasons their relationship grows as they learn more and more of each other until they finally meet again in person. From there the love story swells like the ebb and flow of the sea.
Their story combines the courtship of Cyrano with the modern takes of The Shop Around the Corner and You’ve Got Mail, but with some unexpected twists to keep it lively and fresh. Colm and Timothea possess different backgrounds and character traits. Colm comes from the rugged fisherman stock while Timothea escaped her childhood as a Welsh farm girl to live a cosmopolitan lifestyle in Liverpool as an assistant for a publisher. Fishing and the sea course through Colm’s veins while publisher’s ink fuels Timothea livelihood.
As they learn about each other, their courtship and devotion helps them discover themselves in newfound situations–some easy, some more challenging. “Sea Marks” maintains the charm throughout and keeps the audience focused on the two actors and their relationship.
Playwright Gardner McKay manages to create an innocent charm throughout the play and the dialogue never lapses into predictable. As for the characters of Colm and Timothea, Darren Kennedy and Cinnamon Schultz command the show from the beginning. Kennedy opens with the establishment of his strong but lonesome fisherman who absolutely charms the audience with his opening monologue. Scene two brings Schultz on stage to cement her character and charm the audience as well. Both spectacular in solo and tandem scenes maintain strong characterizations throughout the two-act play.
Directed by Jan Rogge, “Sea Marks” brings the best of the best to showcase their talents. The set design my Gary Mosby is beautifully created and fits the mood. The costumes by Sarah M. Oliver are reminiscent of a proper working girl in England and a life-ling fisherman in Ireland. Shane Rowse’s lighting subtly directs the audience’s eyes from scene to scene and stays romantic and peaceful as the play shifts from site to site. The sound design and music by Jonathan Robertson make the audience feel as though they are in the Irish cottage or in the city suburbs. The properties to decorate the stage give a richness and authenticity to the set. Stage Managers are Alex Murphy, assisted by Rita Sobbing.
“Sea Marks” opened Jan. 13 on City Stage in historic Union Station. The play runs for three weeks through Jan.28. Advance tickets may be purchased through the KCAT website or through the box office at 816.235.6222. Ticket prices range from $15 and $40.
Tags:t Kansas City Actors Theatre, “Sea Marks”, Kansas City Theater, Kansas City Performing Arts, Kansas City Arts & Entertainment