Two for the Seesaw
Sacramento is the scene of a Two for the Seesaw revival. Sacramento Theatre Company will bring William Gibson’s 1958 play to its stage in January, and the T Street Players are currently celebrating their 100th theatrical production with their own version of Seesaw. The question isn’t why this revival’s happening in Sacramento but rather why there’s a revival of this dated comedy at all.The late-1950s Broadway show, starring Henry Fonda and Anne Bancroft, earned Bancroft a Tony, though the follow-up 1962 movie version didn’t get high praise. Subsequently, there’ve been few Seesaw stagings, and for good reason. The play’s tired plot, dialogue and gender roles just don’t hold up under present-day scrutiny.
Divorced lawyer Jerry comes to Manhattan looking for a new life, while dancer Gittel is looking for options at her advanced age of 27. A cute meeting later, Jerry insults her, and Gittel is charmed. She makes him curtains and dinner, and he pays her loft rent. She’s ditzy and charming, and he’s pragmatic and patronizing. He calls her “goofy girl,” “crazy nitwit” and “infantile,” and then he hits her. She just wants to understand and comfort him.
The T Street Players have good intentions and enthusiasm going into Seesaw, but because of the constricted script and 1960s sitcom-style acting, it feels more like a Nick at Nite rerun. Laura Guelfo does manage to add some layers to her portrayal of dancer and career gal Gittel. But Floyd Harden, already burdened by awkward dialogue, needs to loosen Jerry up to get some sympathy for his character.
In the end, it’s hard to see what local theaters see in Seesaw, but audiences should see it with caution.