Jeff Smith 12:01 p.m., March 29
Rhubarb, or How to Play with a Rollergirl
Last January, the San Diego Theater Critics Circle gave Esther Emery a special award for directing. But just when she's handed what could become a confining mold, Emery breaks it: she's written a new play. Now in its world premiere at Moxie Theatre, Rhubarb could use some tightening and tweaking, especially in Act Two, but it's an impressive (and funny, and wise) piece of writing. It's also about breaking molds. An aspiring painter, Cecelia's stuck. She does variations on vegetables and wants her genius to arrive. She's also sexually stuck and mother-controlled (asked what her mother's problem is, she replies, "She has children"). Enter a new roommate: Karen's an amateur roller derby fireball whose idea of a good time includes "drink, dance, and making noise." Karen is bisexual; Cecelia's "not currently developing my social life" (i.e., celibate). They form an odd couple. But unlike Felix and Oscar, who will always be Felix and Oscar, and aided by meddlesome oracles, Cecelia has a double-awakening, both artistic and sensual. The rain falling outside, which once seemed so dreary, now sparkles with liberation. Moxie and director Delicia Turner Sonnenberg honor the script with a tight, hip production. Nick Fouch's scenic design and Eric Lotze's lighting code a naturalistic one-bedroom apartment with passionate reds. Jeannine Marquie, as Cecelia, and Chrissy Burns, as Karen, craft precise characterizations and are especially good in tandem. Judy Watson's expert costumes illustrate the differences the women will overcome in an age where "there are no rules left, only choices."
Worth a try.
When: Ongoing until Sunday, March 9, 2008
- Sundays, 2pm
- Thursdays, 8pm
- Fridays, 8pm
- Saturdays, 8pm