ADVERTISING AT CURTAINUP
Short Term Listings
BOOKS and CDs
LETTERS TO EDITOR
A CurtainUp New Jersey Review
Eighteen year-old Maggie (Gina Costigan) has returned to her family's home in Ireland after an extended sojourn in Holland. She is accompanied by Mick (Michael Louis Serafin-Wells) who appears to be at least twice her age and who she introduces as her fiance to her parents Thomas (Kevin Hogan) and Hannah (Cathryn Wake). A successful florist by profession, Mick tries hard to be ingratiating and is greeted with reserved cordiality by Maggie. Mick is, however, stunned by Thomas's lack of hospitality or rather unrestrained hostility.
Both Hannah and Thomas are taken aback by Maggie's intention to marry the older man which is made clear and given additional weight and compounding gravitas as the reason for Maggie leaving her home and the reason for her returning begin to surface. Hannah tries to put on a modicum show of support even as we begin to suspect it as a cover-up with the fear that her own marriage may be in peril. Thomas has no intention of allowing things to progress but it is only through a series of scarily manifested rages that he is able to express his feelings, as well as keep his mounting fears of the proposed union from revealing a family secret.
Superbly acted, under the fine direction by Suzanne Barabas (assisted by Adam Fitzgerald), the play is a hotbed of uncomfortable truths, uncovered secrets and unforeseeable consequences, all waiting to surface. Although the astute theater-goer will likely see where things are headed, the increasingly testy confrontations make for engrossing theater.
Delaney's characters are complicated and very compelling in their emotional diversity. The very pretty Costigan is excellent as the over anxious daughter whose reasons for marrying Mick could be as sincere as they are also twisted up in a Freudian knot. Hogan has a field day with the irrational Thomas's contentious behavior. One can see the complaisant but apprehensive Hannah's hidden agenda in Wake's subtle performance. Serafin-Wells comes close to a bravura moment with a motor-mouthed attack on Thomas, an example of Delaney gift for florid speech.
The interior of the family home in Ireland is smartly evoked by designer Jessica Parks. With its mix of predictable and volatile psycho-sexual implications, The Seedbed is a humdinger of a play and a welcome addition to contemporary Irish dramatic literature.