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Pacifica Spindrift Stage 2: “Time Was” and “Partitions”

Stage 2 is an experimental offshoot of Pacifica Spindrift Players, where out-of-the mainstream productions have a chance to get staged.  This season’s offering is a pair of short plays by a new playwright Kathryn Murdock, simply staged as readers’ theatre for three nights only.  Director Barbara Williams managed to make the most of the bare-bones staging—a pair of stepladders, a handful of chairs and a table before a blue curtain—and the cast, most of them taking a role in each of the plays.

The evening opened with Time Was, an elliptical theatre of the absurd, Murdock’s ruminations on the nature of time, memory, and mortality (“Big whoop!”) given voice by actors on a stage within a stage.  “I wanted to remind you, I’m equity.”  First one character, then another and another are given sacks to carry dangling from their necks: “My childhood, I carry it with me everywhere.”  But sometimes this is a good thing.  A child sees everything through a lens of awe and wonder.  Just not for everyone, or all the time.  White shrouds, even the stage manager herself, become characters, leading to a surprise and snappy ending.

At intermission, you have a chance to meet the cast and production staff in the gallery, one of the wonderful features of small productions like this.

The evening’s second offering, Partitions.  left the absurd and entered the  complicated world of ordinary life, of a sea-captain loved by, and seen through the eyes of four different women:  a past love, a present fling, a sister, and an office manager.  Each knows some but not all things about him, and none of them know or understand the same things.  Each deludes herself as she enables his free-wheeling philandering, until the climactic scene following his sudden death in the hospital.  In the wild confrontations there each comes to see herself as a part of a larger whole that was his life, and included them all.

The direction and acting in these productions, particularly the latter, brought the show almost out of the realm of readers’ theatre, to the point that one was barely aware that each had a script in hand throughout.  A special nod to Dianna Collett for her spot-on and sensitive portrayal of the betrayed Melinda in Partitions.  If you want to catch this show, you’ll have to hurry.  Three nights only, final performances Saturday 9/15 8:00, Sunday 9/16 2:00.  Admission for this Stage 2 is FREE, but bring a little cash for the donation box.

Box office:  (650) 359-8002  or   http://www.pacificaspindriftplayers.org/Tickets/index.html

Review by David Hirzel:  http://www.davidhirzel.net

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