by Tina Howe
It was recommended to me in college that I read plays written by Tina Howe. I am now realizing why.
Coastal Disturbances is essentially a love story. What I enjoyed about this particular love story was the fact that I didn't realize the play was about love until near the end. Nor was this your traditional romantic comedy. Holly is not easily won. Holly is charming and clumsy and downright lovable. The object of her affection, Leo, is a kind and decent guy. There was an innocence to both of them that I found refreshing and watching the push/pull of their relationship kept me hooked. It reminded me of all the best kinds of summer love, and how the beach with the ocean and the sand and those perfect nights can really allow you to let down your guard and potentially fall in love. I absolutely adored the scene where Holly couldn't walk away from Leo because her legs weren't working correctly.. gives a whole new meaning to "sea legs!"
Some of the supporting characters did not interest me as much. I found humor in the "fish out of water" image of Holly's European lover trying to walk in the sand in his designer shoes. I enjoyed the playfulness of the children, but I did not understand the purpose of the aggressive relationship between Ariel and her son. When she kept shaking him I had a physical response and then couldn't understand why none of the other characters were commenting on how rough she was being. It didn't seem in keeping with the rest of the tone of the play. Perhaps I've dramatized it more in my mind than it would be on stage, but it irked me!
Fall is my favorite season, but this play actually made me wish for summer nights..
Tomorrow's Play: Loose Knit by Theresa Rebeck