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Coastal Disturbances


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A: Tina Howe Pf: 1986, New York Pb: 1986 G: Romantic comedy in 2 acts S: Beach on north shore of Massachusetts, 1980s C: 3m, 4f, 2 children (1m, 1f)On a beach there are: Leo, a handsome, impulsive lifeguard of 28, still smarting from a failed engagement; Holly Dancer, a somewhat depressive 24-year-old photographer from New York, who fancies Leo but seems to be going through some sort of crisis; pregnant Faith Bigelow (35) with her 7-year-old adopted daughter Miranda; her divorced friend Ariel Took (36) with her son Winston (8); and Dr Hamilton Adams, a retired eye surgeon, and his wife M.J., an amateur painter, trying with difficulty to sketch the scenery. Eventually, Leo confesses how attracted he is to Holly and makes to grab her, while she photographs him as he pursues her. When Miranda cuts her foot, and Leo gently but firmly attends to her, Holly is swept away with admiration, and confesses her love for Leo. They spend the night together on the beach and talk about their past lives. Suddenly, Andre Sor, a 49-year-old New York gallery owner and Holly's lover, appears, and she falls into his arms. A whale is washed ashore, and Leo explodes with anger because no one seems to care how it suffered. Leo pleads with Holly to recognize how superficial and exploitative Andre's love is for her, and she reluctantly gives Leo her address but leaves with Andre. The Hamiltons celebrate their anniversary, as Leo dreams of his next meeting with Holly.

A: Tina Howe Pf: 1986, New York Pb: 1986 G: Romantic comedy in 2 acts S: Beach on north shore of Massachusetts, 1980s C: 3m, 4f, 2 children (1m, 1f)

In this gentle and convincing study of human relationships, which is one of the more conventional of Howe's works, there is little action and no particular ‘message’ to be read from the characters' behaviour. Fine art is central to many of her plays, and Coastal Disturbances is in some respects like an acted-out painting.

Subjects: Literary Studies (Plays and Playwrights).


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