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061 – Sea Creatures, by Cordelia Lynn

061 – Sea Creatures, by Cordelia Lynn

Geraldine Alexander as Shirley
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.

 

Cordelia Lynn
Cordelia Lynn is an award-winning playwright, librettist and dramaturg.

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 SorrowLela & 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).

Recommended Play

Lynn recommended Pity by Rory Mullarkey.

 

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076 – Othello, by William Shakespeare

076 – Othello, by William Shakespeare

Shakespeare’s devastating exploration of race, reputation and jealousy, The Tragedy of Othello, The Moor of Venice was a popular success when it was first performed during Shakespeare’s lifetime, but in the centuries since it has provoked a wide range of responses as successive generations have grappled with the racial identity of the eponymous character. As we record this episode a new production of Othello at Shakespeare’s Globe theatre in London views the play’s treatment of race through a contemporary lens, setting the play within the London Metropolitan police force, a topical environment for racial inspection.

I am privileged to welcome as my guest someone especially qualified to help us navigate the tricky waters of Shakespeare’s play, Farah Karim-Cooper, Director of Education at Shakespeare’s Globe, Professor of Shakespeare Studies at Kings College London, and the author of The Great White Bard – Shakespeare, Race and the Future.

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075 – The Homecoming, by Harold Pinter

075 – The Homecoming, by Harold Pinter

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I am joined by Matthew Dunster, the director of a scintillating new production of the play at the Young Vic in London, who can help us answer those questions about Pinter’s challenging classic.

Lisa Diveney as Ruth at the Young Vic – photo by Dean Chalkley.

074 – Ghosts, by Henrik Ibsen

074 – Ghosts, by Henrik Ibsen

Henrik Ibsen’s dark family drama Ghosts provoked outrage when it was published in 1881, its treatment of sexual disease, incest and euthanasia too much for the critics. More than 140 years later its portrait of repressed truths and social hypocrisy remains as powerful as ever.

Professor Kirsten Shepherd-Barr of St Catherine’s College, Oxford, helps us review Ibsen’s unflinching drama.

Hattie Morahan as Helene Alving at the Sam Wanamaker Theatre, London, December 2023. Photo by Marc Brenner.

Cordelia Lynn

Cordelia Lynn

Cordelia Lynn

Cordelia Lynn is an award-winning playwright, librettist and dramaturg.

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 SorrowLela & 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).

Recommended Play(s)

Cordelia recommended Pity by Rory Mullarkey.