Director Timothy M. Marrinan ’06 and producer Eric S. Chen ’07 began staging Sam Shepards’ 1978 play “Seduced” on April 20 in the Adams House Kronauer Space.
The play is a thinly veiled roman à clef of legendary director and “The Aviator” subject Howard Hughes’ final, hermetic years. In the play, Shepard names his version of the legendary recluse Henry Hackamore and provides him a modicum of companionship in the person of his obsequious manservant Raoul.
Hackamore (Daniel R. Pecci ’08-’09) and Raoul (Jugo Kapetanovic ’07) lead a bleak existence: they live in a sparsely appointed bunker, into which Hackamore permits no sunlight, and their only diversions from the monotony of exile are Hackamore’s intermittent medical and psychological crises.
But one day, Hackamore and Raoul’s isolation is disrupted by the arrival of two of Hackamore’s previous lovers: the mysterious and exotic Luna (Anastasia Artemyeva ’08) and the street savvy and fiery Miami (Leah R. Lussier ’07). The women are surprised to find their former paramour in such a ruined condition. A paranoid invalid with ashen features and untrimmed hair and nails has replaced the jet-setting playboy for whom they first fell.
It is quickly established, however, that Hackamore’s interests are more nostalgic than erotic. What he wishes of his former lovers are their memories of his former life and the world beyond his bunker. In one harrowing scene, he becomes apoplectic when the women fail to recount sufficiently memories of their last trips to Las Vegas for his delectation.
All of the play’s action transpires on a spartan, black brick stage. Marrinan and Chen have dressed the set walls and ceiling with chicken wire—giving the stage the effect of a bomb shelter or asylum. A small television set, broadcasting static, sits at the front right of the stage, and a small table and serving tray, at the stage’s rear left, comprise all of the play’s major props.
Chen says that the Kronauer Space proved the perfect venue for realizing the play’s mood and Marrinan’s vision: “[‘Seduced’] fits with this setting; it is oppressive and closed like the space itself. Plus Tim [Marrinan] wanted to something in an intimate setting, and Kronauer is small and closed.”
Marrinan promises that the play will be an engaging affair: “The play will have a surreal, slightly detached feel—separate from any time or place. We’ve been able to use the [Kronauer] Space to do a lot of subtle things with the audience and the cast. It works really nicely, actually.”
The play’s extreme subject matter and innovative staging promise an interesting evening of theater.