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
If Stephen Douglas never debated the relatively unknown Abraham Lincoln, Douglas might have become a U.S. president. But the twice-incumbent senator from Illinois debated Lincoln in seven, nearly three-hour sessions throughout the state. The extroverted Douglas preached "popular sovereignty"; introverted Lincoln, that a "house divided" could not stand. Lamb's Players is staging a slightly (and smartly) trimmed version of Norman Corwin's drama. A writer's writer, and perennially unheralded, Corwin recreates the speeches and the forces behind the 1858 debates, in the process deftly resurrecting Douglas as a man - though blindly biased in many ways - of principle. For Lamb's, Michael McKeon's set, a sturdy loading dock, and Jeannie Reith's costumes (which shorten Douglas and lengthen Lincoln) set the time and the place. But the opening-night performances needed many more rehearsals. Both first- and second-act climaxes dissipated, and the performances, especially Robert Smyth's barely (and surprisingly so) off-book Douglas, lacked Lamb's usual polish. As Lincoln, David Cochran Heath put passion into the speeches - and humor (Lincoln could be as funny as Mark Twain) - but couldn't settle on a consistent voice for the 16th president. Craig Noel Award-winner Colleen Kollar Smith did a fine turn as Stephen's wife Adele, who narrates - and outlived both men by 30 years.