Out West Arts: Performance at the end of the world

Opera, music, theater, and art in Los Angeles and beyond

Going to a campfire way down south

August 12, 2008

Kelley McAndrew and Anthony Crane
Photo : Craig Schwartz/Old Globe 2008
The worst thing about the rather vibrant and interesting San Diego theater scene is that it is in San Diego. Not that there is anything wrong with that very lovely city by the sea – a sort of Boca Raton for Southern California, it’s just that it is an infuriatingly unpredictable but sure to be lengthy car ride from Los Angeles. It could be two hours, it could be five, you never can tell. Plus you have to nervously drive by that nuclear power plant in San Onofre. Why anyone needed to add to the potential for disaster by building a nuclear plant in America’s premiere earthquake region is beyond me, but there you have it.

But, of course, driving down to San Diego is required to sample much of the fine theater available there. One must be careful, however, given that you never know when your trip will end up in A Catered Affair. So I was quite pleased on Sunday—even after the 10 minute panicked jog through Balboa Park due to my bad parking planning—to get to the Old Globe Theater for two very good shows. Of particular interest and highly recommended is the Globe’s new revival of Donald Magulies’ Sight Unseen, which is playing in the Copley Auditorium in the San Diego Museum of Art next to the Old Globe Theater complex (undergoing renovation). This play put Margulies on the map over 15 years ago and helped cement an ongoing and very fruitful relationship with the South Coast Repertory theater in Costa Mesa (which will revive Margulies’ Collected Stories this coming spring).

Played in the round, the Globe’s current production of Sight Unseen, directed by Esther Emery, is pretty near perfect and quite wonderful. The cast manages to live up to the complexities and ambiguities in the text with seeming ease. Anthony Crane, who is no stranger to the role, plays Jonathan Waxman, a recently very successful artist who has come to visit a former paramour and muse, Patricia, played here by Kelley McAndrew, now living with her husband in the English countryside. These two actors are at the center of everything that happens over these two hours and manage a remarkable job with this multi-layered work. Totally believable, the performances maintain an exciting energy throughout. They are joined by Ron Choularton and Katie Fabel who are quite strong here. The play is told out of order in a fashion similar to that of Pinter’s Betrayal and given that Margulies manages to keep that out of your mind while watching it is a real testament to his talent and the quality of writing. It’s also interesting to see how other playwrights have more or less knocked off this idea with much less interesting results as Neil LaBute did with Some Girl(s). In any event, this revival is well worth a trip down south.

I also caught the final performance of the Old globe’s other non-Shakespeare summer production, Taylor and Skinner’s The Pleasure of his Company starring local favorite Patrick Page. This late 1950s comedy has all the benefits of period Freudian underpinnings without the breakneck pacing of earlier screwball comedies. But while it seemed slow and overly dated at first, the cast hit a rhythm just after intermission making for a not unpleasant evening. There is still plenty of summer Shakespeare programming available in Balboa Park for those interested, and I myself will be back down later this week to catch All’s Well That Ends Well. So, if you are lucky enough to live in San Diego to begin with, you’ve got no excuse to keep yourself from catching Sight Unseen, which will continue to run through September 7.



Have you thought of taking the train? Leaves Union Station, takes about 2:30, costs about $60 and there's multiple choices for stops in San Diego (Balboa Park, Old Town etc.); I did it for the US Open golf tournament and it was a joy.
I had thought about this but the last train leaves San Diego before 10, rarely late enough to be able to make it after an opera or show lets out for the evening. It would be ideal though wouldn't it?
Hey, thanks for the feedback! We're very proud of this production of Sight Unseen and honored to have been found worth the drive. (We do that drive in reverse quite often, so I know your pain...)
Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?



Opera Reviews '10-'11

Opera Reviews '09-'10

Opera Reviews '06-'09

L.A. Phil Reviews '09/'10

L.A. Phil Reviews '08/'09

L.A. Theater Reviews


Follow Along


Los Angeles

Follow me on Twitter