Swimming in the Shallows

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Swimming in the Shallows is a play by professional playwright Adam Bock. First performed in 1999, the play is a comedy with surreal touches. The five human roles in the story are augmented by the addition of an actor playing a mako shark in the Twig Rhode Island Aquarium.

The play deals with the needs of the various characters, be they emotional needs or physical belongings. At one point, Nick - a promiscuous homosexual with a poor track record at lasting relationships - falls in love with the Shark. After being introduced, he and the Shark chat, and Nick suggests a date at the beach. The character of the Shark is not confined to his tank in the aquarium - he effortlessly steps into dry-land scenes at the beach and, later, a commitment ceremony between two of the human characters. As Nick and the Shark talk, we learn, amongst other things, that he finds the aquarium boring ("People stare a lot"), he used to enjoy swimming in the shallows at the beach close by the people, and he once sold Avon products door-to-door.

In productions of Swimming in the Shallows, the Shark's costume is generally fairly minimalist. Usually the only concession to a shark-like appearance is a fin attached to the actor's back. Bock notes in the play's script, "I like it when the Shark has a fin."

External links[edit]

Theatre reviews with photographs of the Shark:

Partial online script: http://www.playscripts.com/playview.php3?playid=728