San Diego outdoors: Aida, animal tracks, rugby, SUP with dogs, 1800s Old Town, waterski and wakeboard
Indoors: WWI San Diego, complete history of theater, Christopher Plummer, pickles, Van Gogh-Gaughin, Martina McBride
11:50 a.m., June 28
Adam Bock's Kafkaesque comedy is tricky to talk about, since everything depends on what you don't know. It takes place in the reception room of the "northeast office" of some sort of company (what kind is the tricky part; let's just say they don't make widgets). We witness daily office life. Edward Raymond, the boss, talks about letting healthy fish go and eating only the damaged ones (who receive a painless bleed-out in his loving hands) and how "everything out there is eating something." His second-in-command, Lorraine, complains about her ex, a narcissist from whose ardent self-regard she can't quite disconnect. And poor, harried Beverly, the receptionist, carries on several conversations, and handles several crises, at once, while rarely completing a sentence. Bock's sharp dialogue combines crisp patter with steep nonverbal gulfs, which the Cygnet Theatre production always stresses to good effect. Wearing Jeannie Reith's somber charcoal business attire (which gains meaning as the 80-minute show evolves), and ably directed by Sean Murray, the cast catches the play's contrary tones with precision. Melinda Gilb's a hoot as Beverly, chameleon of various attitudes, depending on the moment. Jo Anne Glover turns Lorraine (played as a dumb blonde in the original) into an amazingly dimensional creation. Excellent work. Sean Cox is appropriately slick as the aptly named Mr. Dart, and Dale Morris expertly makes Edward Raymond seem one of the world's kindliest bosses. Sean Fanning's photorealistic office has such a lived-in quality it must have been there before they built the theater. And Eric Lotze's lighting shifts from institutional neon to bold, expressionist Axis of Evil effects.