The Canyoneers 1:30 p.m., Sept. 19
New Village Arts is restaging its popular production, which earned director Kristianne Kurner the San Diego Critics Circle's Craig Noel Award for best direction in 2007. Rich never found a "breakthrough cause" that would put him "on the other side, with the people who know they're alive." Rarely in theater has someone so confused been so eloquent. And that goes for all of John Patrick Shanley's characters in his 90-minute "watercolor." Everyone makes summary statements about life and the need to make fundamental choices (take the bird in the hand; forget the two in the bush). The play thinks its ideas for you. Rich goes back, in memory, to a time when he should have chosen between two women ("choose one, even the mad one," his uncle urged, "and let the other go"). But Rich preferred to suspend the moment just prior. The New Village Arts's excellent production makes mystical what the play renders explicit. Before a wall of stars, actors waltz to Strauss's "Blue Danube," a rowboat actually rows across the set, a Dance of Death unfolds to Otis Redding's immortal "Try a Little Tenderness." Director Kristianne Kurner and choreographers Robin Christ and Kathy Meyer create the fluid dreamscapes everyone tells Rich to avoid. Amanda Sitton and Amanda Morrow charm as the sisters Lucy and Joan, the former "normal," she says, the latter a spirit medium. Morrow gets the best line. When Lucy pleads her case for Rich's love, she says that just because Joan "can see around a corner once in a while doesn't make her sane." (Note: the new version has two cast changes -- Joshua Everett Johnson now plays Rich, and Manny Fernandes plays gruff, sagacious Uncle John.)
Worth a try.
When: Ongoing until Sunday, August 24, 2008
- Sundays, 2pm
- Thursdays, 8pm
- Fridays, 8pm
- Saturdays, 3pm & 8pm