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Love after last call

A new theater company presents The Sea Horse, the story of a curmudgeonly bar owner and the man who loves her.

By BABITA PERSAUD

© St. Petersburg Times,
published September 6, 2001


TAMPA -- Will Harry marry Gertrude?

He tries so much to win her heart, using every tactic he can conceive.

But Gertrude, the salty bar owner, is an impenetrable brick wall. She doesn't want to marry, doesn't want to have children, she tells him.

And if she did marry, it wouldn't be to him, a sailor who wanders in and out of her port town bar.

"I don't trust you," she blasts.

"You will," he says.

In one conversation in the play The Sea Horse, two lives are changed. The play was written by Edward J. Moore nearly 30 years ago and is presented on stage this month by Dog & Pony Productions, a new company of four friends.

They have all had hands in local theater -- at Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center, at Ruth Eckerd Hall, at Gorilla Theater.

And they all said to each other: "I really want to work with you." After a brainstorming dinner at J. Alexander's in Tampa two years ago, the promise was kept.

But what to call themselves? The name came far into production, after one said, "Can we just get the dog and pony show on the road?"

The play is set in a seaside bar, appropriately named the Sea Horse, since sea horses mate for life, which Harry is trying to do.

The play is intimate. Only two actors take the stage. Pam Yado, who has directed locally, is Gertrude Blum. James Wicker, drama teacher and playwright, is Harry Bales.

Their conversation takes place from closing time to the following noon.

He woos her.

She throws him out.

He urges her to talk about herself.

She raises a baseball bat to him.

He tells her she is beautiful.

"I think this play will connect with people," said Pam Yado, who made the selection for the group. "There's no couple on Earth who hasn't had some part of this discussion."

Preview

The Sea Horse plays Shimberg Playhouse at the Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center Friday through Sept. 23. Show times are Friday and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 4 p.m. Tickets are $15.50. Call (813) 229-7827 or (800) 955-1045, or check out www.tbpac.org.

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