Bob (Iain Sinclair) is a carpenter. He lives by himself, simply, near the sea. One day he finds Eva (Meredith Penman) washed up on the shore. She speaks with an accent; her memory and a finger are missing, no clue to where they went. Bob takes Eva back to his house. He sits her at his table, he gives her tea, he tries to be the best man he can be in this situation.
Eva stays, trying to piece things together. She friends a boy (Travis Cardona) on the beach, who collects things others have lost: music, shoes. She waits for Bob when he goes to work; she thinks of a future they could have together. Turning up at the house is Maciek (Justin Cotta). He, too, came from somewhere via the sea, he too speaks with an accent. He tells Eva stories of who she was, where she came from. Eva remembers, but only the edges. Small stories, the notes of a song that fill her voice.
In the seaside house, the three must negotiate their new relationships and their old histories.
Beautifully measured in all regards, in The Sea Project it seems at first as if writer Elise Hearst and director Paige Rattray are letting us peak in on a corner of the world which we exist in. As we move through the play, however, we watch as the boundaries we expect – the boundaries that we know bounder our lives – shift out, or slightly to the side.
The Sea Project is about many things in this world which are big: wars and the lives, loves, and memories lost; defining yourself and your place; the lines between the real and imagined. But the story Hearst tells us is of the small, contained. To write about it seems to almost give it more weight than the production itself gives it: in the end, despite all the journeys we take through the show, it feels like we’ve just had a glance at nothing more than the beautiful strands of a new relationship.