Sea Cabinet, Theatre Elision’s latest production currently playing at the Southern theater is the US premiere of Gwyneth Herbert’s song cycle with book by Heidi James is a beautiful and meditative tribute to the sea. Without reading the program I wasn’t quite sure what the show was about other than a woman or women who live by the sea, collecting what can be found on the beach and recording them in a log book. This plot, or the lack of one is not important however. The show’s strength is in it’s beautiful entrancing music. Theatre Elision has a knack of picking shows that I have never heard of before but have been frantically searching for a soundtrack afterwards to re live the experience of the show in some way again afterwards (I am still upset that there was is no soundtrack for Melancholy Play), and Sea Cabinet is no exception.
As you enter the Southern theater, below the beautiful antique arch the stage seems to be almost littered with instruments and random objects. All of the instruments are used throughout the show, played by the four performers, Emily Dussault, Vanessa Gamble, Bex Gaunt and Christine Wade, along with the musicians Harrison Wade (also Music Director), Spencer Becker, Erik Schee and Lars Johnson, to create a rich folky sound that intermingles with the harmonies beautifully. Although at many times I was wishing that I could hear the voices better over the instrumental music. The show is 75 minutes long without an intermission and plays straight through without an intermission or applause. This approach was perfect for the show, not only because of it's length but the lack of applause allowed me to complete escape into the show and its haunting harmonies.