Though Shalit was let go in 2011 as part of a prisoner exchange deal, his first televised interview wasn’t until the following year. Seinuk was struck by his comments about playing games, like balling up his socks and shirts and seeing how many times he could land them in the trash bin.
“I’m always inspired by stories of survival and dark, dark things,” Seinuk said. “I was really inspired by this idea of, ‘I played games.’ Maybe that’s the way to survive.”
In the play, Seinuk puts her two characters, Ilan Shaliach, an Israeli prisoner of war in captivity for five years, and Andrew Dayton, a kidnapped Boston University graduate student with a deep secret, together in a sort of “holding room” with three doors and a pingpong table. Ilan, who is played by Boston actor and voice teacher Charles Linshaw, thinks the two will be OK if he teaches the laid-back Andrew to play games and fight for his life.
“The play is about a lot of things,” Seinuk said. “It’s about what they have to do to survive in real life and in the room itself. People in captivity, what do they do to survive?”
Newburyport native Jeff Marcus plays Andrew. Seinuk sought him out for the role after being impressed by his performance in the play “True Believers” a couple of years ago.
“Andrew is a very pragmatic but introverted person who has only been able to live his full life in his head because he hasn’t been able to show his true self to anyone for fear of who he is,” Marcus said. “He looks at our world and tries to figure it out.”
“From the Deep” was developed as Seinuk’s thesis at Lesley University, where she recently received her Master of Fine Arts in writing for the stage and screen. It is directed by Lindsay Eagle of Somerville and also features Lindsay Brissette of Portsmouth, N.H., who will read the stage directions.