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Survival in service

Mud Blue Sky capably explores the battle-fatigue of those who wait on others

Mud Blue Sky
Mud Blue Sky

Mud Blue Sky

  • Moxie Theatre, 6663 El Cajon Boulevard, Suite N, Rolando
  • $27 - $40

Marisa Wegrzyn’s serio-comedy takes a behind-the-scenes look at off-duty “people persons.”

The scene, done in vivid, stereotypical detail by Maria Bane, is room 208 of a, let’s be kind, modestly priced hotel next door to Chicago’s O’Hare Airport. When Beth enters, the stark brown stripes down the walls don’t put her off. Nor does the mechanical clacky-whirl of the bathroom fan. She’s too tired.

But not tired enough to inspect the room for bedbugs with the expertise of an international spy debugging electronic kibitzers.

It’s clear that Beth knows a thing or two about public accommodations.

When she landed the job, Beth became a “stewardess.” Now, many years later and contemplating retirement, she’s a “flight attendant.”

Her feet are screaming, but not as loud as her aching back. She’s got a 5:30 tomorrow, so maybe just toke a spliff — purchased from a 17-year-old in a tuxedo – and hit the hay.

Deanna Driscoll plays Beth. After she mutely sets the scene — her feet really hurt, that room needs inspecting — Driscoll gives a deeply felt, down-home funny portrayal of a caregiver with battle fatigue.

Beth’s probably seen more of the country, and more of humanity — first class and coach — than most Americans. And she’s got grisly stories to tell (of sexist drunks and used diapers). But, darndest thing, she isn’t just a “survivor.” She still holds out for an upturn.

Wegrzyn’s 90-minute script has a few lulls, usually when shifting gears, but throughout Driscoll gives a pitch-perfect, outstanding performance.

Room 208 becomes a mini-convention for the service industry. Along with Beth, her co-attendant Sam (an appropriately icy Jo Anne Glover in a terse blond wig) drops in. Sam has a child at home wreaking havoc, and a roving eye. And, given an impulse to have others wait on her, it’s hard to believe she waits on others for a living.

And it hurts to hear that Angie (“a cautionary tale”) was laid off two years ago and hasn’t been the same since. Melissa Fernandes’ Angie tells a story, near the end, guaranteed to coerce tears, and underline a subtext. Among other things, Mud Blue Sky is about being “really alone.”

Typical Beth. She tells young Jonathan “don’t believe anything you hear,” fixing him with a look that says, “believe me.” Jonathan sells varying grades of marijuana. Smart enough for Cal Tech, un-socialized enough to have his prom date dump him, which is why he wears a rented tux, Jonathan gets an education and a half in and around room 208. J. Tyler Jones strikes a nice balance between a veneer of cool control and baffled innocence undereneath.

In a sense, Jonathan-the-pusher also works in the “service industry.” By play’s end the expression becomes an oxymoron, since the industry is number-crunching the service out of existence.

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Mud Blue Sky
Mud Blue Sky

Mud Blue Sky

  • Moxie Theatre, 6663 El Cajon Boulevard, Suite N, Rolando
  • $27 - $40

Marisa Wegrzyn’s serio-comedy takes a behind-the-scenes look at off-duty “people persons.”

The scene, done in vivid, stereotypical detail by Maria Bane, is room 208 of a, let’s be kind, modestly priced hotel next door to Chicago’s O’Hare Airport. When Beth enters, the stark brown stripes down the walls don’t put her off. Nor does the mechanical clacky-whirl of the bathroom fan. She’s too tired.

But not tired enough to inspect the room for bedbugs with the expertise of an international spy debugging electronic kibitzers.

It’s clear that Beth knows a thing or two about public accommodations.

When she landed the job, Beth became a “stewardess.” Now, many years later and contemplating retirement, she’s a “flight attendant.”

Her feet are screaming, but not as loud as her aching back. She’s got a 5:30 tomorrow, so maybe just toke a spliff — purchased from a 17-year-old in a tuxedo – and hit the hay.

Deanna Driscoll plays Beth. After she mutely sets the scene — her feet really hurt, that room needs inspecting — Driscoll gives a deeply felt, down-home funny portrayal of a caregiver with battle fatigue.

Beth’s probably seen more of the country, and more of humanity — first class and coach — than most Americans. And she’s got grisly stories to tell (of sexist drunks and used diapers). But, darndest thing, she isn’t just a “survivor.” She still holds out for an upturn.

Wegrzyn’s 90-minute script has a few lulls, usually when shifting gears, but throughout Driscoll gives a pitch-perfect, outstanding performance.

Room 208 becomes a mini-convention for the service industry. Along with Beth, her co-attendant Sam (an appropriately icy Jo Anne Glover in a terse blond wig) drops in. Sam has a child at home wreaking havoc, and a roving eye. And, given an impulse to have others wait on her, it’s hard to believe she waits on others for a living.

And it hurts to hear that Angie (“a cautionary tale”) was laid off two years ago and hasn’t been the same since. Melissa Fernandes’ Angie tells a story, near the end, guaranteed to coerce tears, and underline a subtext. Among other things, Mud Blue Sky is about being “really alone.”

Typical Beth. She tells young Jonathan “don’t believe anything you hear,” fixing him with a look that says, “believe me.” Jonathan sells varying grades of marijuana. Smart enough for Cal Tech, un-socialized enough to have his prom date dump him, which is why he wears a rented tux, Jonathan gets an education and a half in and around room 208. J. Tyler Jones strikes a nice balance between a veneer of cool control and baffled innocence undereneath.

In a sense, Jonathan-the-pusher also works in the “service industry.” By play’s end the expression becomes an oxymoron, since the industry is number-crunching the service out of existence.

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4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
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