btincup June 25, 2009 @ 12:05 p.m.

For an enjoyable evening of culture, you might want to sample a new production at the La Jolla Playhouse called "Restoration". The story features an imaginary look at the behind the scenes process of the preparation and restoration of Michelangelo's statue "David". Much controversy surrounded the commissioning of the restoration which was initiated for the 500th anniversary of the creation of one of the world's greatest treasures and wonderous works of art which resides in the Accademia Museum in Florence, Italy. Claudia Shear became fascinated with the circumstances of this impacting event and decided to pen a fictionalized story behind the entire process. The unique story includes a peek into what restoration entails along with the characters involved in the committee and selection process. The restorer, Julia, played by Claudia Shear, hides her inner sensitivity behind a caustic and witty facade. The audience witnesses Julia gradually shed that hard outer shell as she learns of the museum staff's and the media liaison's frailties and inner strengths. She also makes the age old mistake of judging on appearances alone and eventually learns that all is not what it appears to be. The playwright managed to balance humor, deep emotional issues and passion within the story line. I found the acting very professional.

The venue (Mandel Weiss Forum) is very comfortable and small and offers various beverages such as coffee & spirits in an open air lobby area if you arrive early. If you desire, a meal at Wolfgang Puck's Jai Cafe prior to the performance is also an option.

My only complaint would be that the show did not include an intermission and ran almost one hour and 45 minutes. This feature was not conducive to a comfortable evening for my husband who suffered a broken hip several years ago. He becomes overcome with excruciating pain after about an hour of non stop sitting unfortunately. I would really encourage the La Jolla Playhouse take that factor into consideration at future productions.

In conclusion, take a chance on some live theater and you might be surprised at how much you will enjoy an evening of culture and creativity. Note, the dress code is not formal so you can dress comfortably and not worry about being under dressed and, the theater is not far from our neighborhood!


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