Seascape with Sharks and Dancer

Rated 4.0

This summer’s sleeper is an odd, yet curiously involving, bittersweet love story. Michael Claudio plays a quiet librarian, and Alexandra Ralph is the disturbed young woman he pulls out of the sea at 4 a.m. The role is a change of pace for Claudio, who previously has played highly verbal and occasionally violent men in plays like Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead and A Clockwork Orange. That he’s convincing as the thoughtful, slow-to-anger character he plays here shows further range on the part of this versatile young actor.

Ralph’s character implies a troubled background. She’s clearly gotten into some bad relationships that she’s terminated by abruptly moving on, but we never get more than glimpses of her past.

The loving but highly dysfunctional relationship that emerges between these two is unlikely, and a lot of what’s said is calculated for effect. Playwright Don Nigro sets up vivid monologues containing statements that aren’t always what they seem to be and lets reality seep into the play indirectly. The two actors make this extended duet an absorbing experience, with guidance from co-directors David Pierini of the B Street Theatre and Ed Claudio.