Selkie

By Krista Knight. Directed by Matt Dickson.

11/30 - 12/23 at The Wild Project.  

In SELKIE, American couple Keaton and Deanna, saddled with debt and buoyed by lust-driven optimism, move abroad for a fresh start. In their attempt to reinvent themselves as enterprising expats, they’re plunged into a torrid triangle with Alondra, an alluring and mischievous Selkie (half-woman half-seal). 

Keaton’s aggression and Deanna’s complicity result in a maelstrom of perverse romance and wet revenge in this dark, funny, and saturated exploration of violence – of being trapped – and two approaches to escape. 

In Irish, Scottish, Icelandic and Scandinavian folklore, selkies are amorous, affectionate and affable beings that can be human or seal, depending on whether they’re wearing their seal coat. Whoever controls their seal coat, controls them.

Selkie is a smart and darkly funny play... Dickson’s direction complements Knight’s excellent writing;...Acting is solid throughout—Federico Rodriguez’s wide-eyed, floppy-haired youth makes the reveal of Keaton’s aggression all the more shocking, while Toni Ann DeNoble allows Deanna to be a naïve party girl without being vapid. Elia Monte-Brown’s Alondra seems, at times, otherworldly, especially when she’s first trapped on land; her eyes convey the desperation of a hostage. The voices of her selkie cousins are a delightful addition to the play. Set designer Reid Thompson and projection designer Yana Birykova do fine work establishing the spaces of the hotel, town, and beach... Overall, Selkie is a work that manages to be both funny and thought-provoking. It comments on domestic abuse, exploitation, and dumb Americans who muck around with the both the ecosystem and the local economy in foreign beach towns. Krista Knight’s dialogue and plotting are smart and finely tuned...Selkie should not be missed.
— Reviews Hub
Ms. Knight has a great command of the couple-on-the-run genre and her dialogue is punchy ... vibrant performances, ... superlative presentation... Scenic designer Reid Thompson’s series of minutely detailed hotel rooms employs a gorgeous palette of beige, brown and gold. In front of it is a curtain which ingeniously gets a lot of use as projection designer Yana Biryukova and videographer Vance Spicer’s dazzling view of a beach scene is shown on it and their psychedelic and zany nostalgic pop culture imagery is projected on the stage’s walls throughout the events...
Cecilia Durbin‘s lighting design kinetically varies during the production. Composer Jack McGuire’s jolting compositions are interspersed with snippets of classic tracks including The Beach Boys and zippy twangy melodies à la Duane Eddy. Asa Wember’s sound design perfectly renders all of these tunes. From colorful board shorts to zesty casual wear, costume designer Sarita Fellows’ efforts boldly realize the look of each character... Mr. Dickson’s vigorous staging totally energizes the material... With Christian Slater’s youthful swagger, Jim Carrey’s early mania and his own appealingly distinctive physical and vocal qualities, the athletic Federico Rodriguez is a magnetic whirlwind as Keaton. Mr. Rodriguez is an emerging classical actor and brings flashes of depth to the frat boy traits as the play reaches its stark conclusion.... Ms. DeNoble’s compelling manner combines cheeriness and plaintiveness, enriching her daffy yet heartfelt characterization... the alluring Elia Monte-Brown’s riveting presence... Ms. Brown’s intensity is supreme.
— TheaterScene.net
Whenever I think of Krista Knight, radical optimism comes to mind; she brings vibrancy in full force to both her art and life. There’s a sense of playfulness to the way she approaches and even dissects the darkest of subject matters... A refreshingly high-energy rhythm, and a fearless embrace of humor. Selkie is an entertaining play even as it gives you pause and makes you go, “Oh shit!” Yana Birykova’s projections add to the production’s sleekness and seamlessly transition between moments of the surreal and naturalistic (but nevertheless highly stylized) scenes. Reid Thompson’s set is functional and effective and with Cecelia Durbin’s lighting design, this production achieves something many others might easily fail: two simultaneous scenes in separate locations are communicated effectively at once... Selkie is a fascinating play that’s been skillfully staged. The piece never becomes pedantic, but allows the messages to land as the characters discover themselves as well as their situations.
— Exeunt
The cast impresses: DeNoble shows off dynamic dance moves, Rodriguez oozes Jim Carrey-type charm, and Monte-Brown is endearingly innocent yet wise... Selkie’s design team utilizes light (designed by Cecilia Durbin) and projections (by Yana Birykova) in interesting ways... Selkie is strange, yet unique, with unspoken ideas and symbolism galore... Director Matt Dickson’s vision and the cast’s character choices add yet more layers.
— Theatre is Easy
★★★★ A perfect set (Reid Thompson) that changes its setting with the draw of a curtain, and projections (Yana Birykova) that alternate between supplementing the scene and invoking a mood.”
— Opplaud