San Francisco Playhouse Sandbox Series is a creative environment for new and established playwrights to take their works from the page to the next level and the San Francisco Playhouse has taken these new plays to the next level in presenting these plays to the general public.

The playhouse is currently presenting Lila Rose Kaplan’s “1 2 3” at the Tides Theatre through September 5th. The 90 minute drama is subtitled “ A Play About Abandonment and Ballroom Dancing”.  As a work in progress and it needs to be fleshed out a little more especially the Abandonment plot.

The play is about three sisters who we first meet as teenagers. Their radical parents have been imprisoned for domestic terrorism so they have been sent to different Foster Homes. They manage to meet  at a coffee shop run by a frustrated ballroom dancer’s  mother.   The girls don’t have names in this drama so the playwright calls them 1 2 and 3  in order of age. The oldest (Jessica Bates) is 17 years old when we first meet her and she is the “mother” or leader  of the group who eventually becomes a professor whose life intertwines with the parents.  The middle girl (Tristan Cunningham) meets the frustrated ballroom dancer Luke (Jeremy Kahn) and finally becomes his partner. The youngest is 14 is cute and lively 3 (Devin Shacket) who ultimately becomes a reality TV producer. We follow these three young ladies from the teenage to middle age in this one hour and forty minute drama.

The subplot of Luke and No 2 is by far the most interesting plot line while the plot of the girls and their parents needs a little more work to make it more interesting. The four member cast is impressive in their roles. Jessica Bates gives a striking performance as the authoritarian figure with concealed warmness in later life. Tristan Cunningham is fantastic in her performance as a person who is full of antagonism even with her dance partner Luke. Devin Shacket is bright and bubbly. She plays the role frenziedly and with charisma.  Jeremy Kahn is outstanding as the easy going and friendly Luke.

Bravo to Sofia Ahmad who taught Tristan and Jeremy to ballroom dance. They had no training before in the art of dancing and it is a joy to watch them gracefully perform the ballroom dancing to a lovely soundtrack thanks to Theodore J.H. Hulsker sound designer. Director Lauren English skillfully directs the drama.  Andrew Kaugman set is simple making it sometimes into a diner and also the basement of the restaurant.

“1 2 3 “ runs through September 5 at the Tides Theatre.533 Sutter Street, San Francisco. Tickets can be obtained by calling 415-677-9596 or on line at www.sfplayhouse.org   Stephen Sondheim’s “Company” is still playing through September 12 at their  main stage located at San Francisco Playhouse, 450 Post Street, San Francisco.