in Sea Creatures
at the Hampstead Theatre, London 2023
Photo by Marc Brenner
061 – Sea Creatures, by Cordelia Lynn
The curtain rises on the kitchen of a cottage by the sea, where the sounds of the sea and the weather wash over the room. Four women live in this cottage: the mother Shirley, her partner, Sarah, and two of Shirley’s daughters, George and Toni, who expect their sister, Robin, to arrive shortly with her boyfriend, Mark. But Mark appears unexpectedly without Robin, saying that she has gone missing and hasn’t been heard from for a week. Apparently, this is not unusual, because Robin has always been troubled and taken off without notice. Mark seeks refuge with the family and waits helplessly for Robin to arrive. But Robin doesn’t come, and Mark and the women must learn to live with her absence.
This is Cordelia Lynn’s atmospheric new play, Sea Creatures, which as we recorded this episode is playing at the Hampstead Theatre in London in a spellbinding production directed by James Macdonald. The play is a poetic exploration of loss and grief, its setting betwixt the sea and the shore rich in metaphoric resonances.
I have admired Cordelia Lynn’s work since seeing her play One for Sorrow at the Royal Court in 2018, and I am delighted to talk to her about her fascinating new play.
Her plays include Sea Creatures (Hampstead Theatre); Love and Other Acts of Violence (Donmar Warehouse); fragments (short, Young Vic); Hedda Tesman, adapt. Henrik Ibsen (Headlong Theatre/Chichester Festival Theatre/Lowry, Manchester); Three Sisters, adapt. Anton Chekhov (Almeida Theatre); One for Sorrow; Lela & Co. (Royal Court Theatre); Confessions (short, Theatre Uncut/Traverse, Edinburgh/Bristol Old Vic) and Best Served Cold (Vault Festival)
She was the recipient of the Berwin Lee Award 2020 and the Harold Pinter Commission 2017. Like Flesh, her opera with composer Sivan Eldar, won the Fedora Opera Prize 2021. Houses Slide, her piece with Laura Bowler, was nominated for an Ivor Award 2022. Cordelia is a MacDowell fellow.
Libretti include Like Flesh (Opéra National de Lille & France Tour); After Arethusa (Venice Musica Biennale); Houses Slide (Royal Festival Hall, Southbank Centre); A Photograph (Oxford Lieder Festival); Heave (Festival Royaumont), Miranda (Opéra Comique & Europe tour) and you’ll drown, dear (Festival ManiFeste).
Dramaturgy includes a new version of Henry V (Headlong Theatre, Shakespeare’s Globe & UK Tour) and Lucia di Lammermoor (Royal Opera House).
Lynn recommended Pity by Rory Mullarkey.
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