A: Edward Bond Pf: 1973, London Pb: 1973 G: Com. in 8 scenes S: Beach, draper's shop, Mrs Rafi's house, and a cliff-top, east coast of England, 1907 C: 7m, 7f, extrasOn a wild stormy night, Willy Carson swims ashore after a shipwreck, desperate because his friend Colin has drowned after their boat overturned. The local draper Hatch refuses to help Willy, convinced that he is an alien who has murdered Colin and is now preparing to take over the town. The next day Willy seeks the help of Evens, an eccentric old seaman, to discover where Colin's body will be washed up. Hatch warns them both that he is on to them. While Rose mourns the loss of her fiancé Colin, Mrs Rafi and local ladies comically rehearse a play about Orpheus and Eurydice. Hatch and his coastguard cronies meet to prepare for the threat from ‘space travellers’, and Mrs Rafi refuses to deal with Hatch, since he denied help to a drowning man. When she will not pay for cloth she had ordered, Hatch starts slashing it in a frenzy then cuts Mrs Rafi with his shears. Willy and Rose discover Colin's body on the beach. Hatch, imagining it to be Willy, stabs the corpse with his knife. Colin's cliff-top funeral becomes a farce thanks to Mrs Rafi's eccentric behaviour, fainting gentlewomen, and the arrival of the raving Hatch, who is overpowered when he sees Willy still alive. Willy and Rose agree to go away together.
A: Edward Bond Pf: 1973, London Pb: 1973 G: Com. in 8 scenes S: Beach, draper's shop, Mrs Rafi's house, and a cliff-top, east coast of England, 1907 C: 7m, 7f, extras
Within a decade, Bond had proved the wide range of his playwriting: from the naturalistic violence of Saved, to Brechtian parable play in Narrow Road to the Deep North, to a rewrite of Shakespeare in Lear, and now The Sea, the closest he came to writing a comedy of manners (Mrs Rafi is like an East Anglian Lady Bracknell). Hatch is paranoid, because ‘People are cruel and boring and obsessed’. It is up to the young Willy to go out and free people from their terror.