Quantcast
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

Little less conversation, please

Wrenegades: An Ecological Adventure at Circle Circle dot dot has a lot of show but insists on tell

Wrenegades: An Ecological Adventure  at Circle Circle dot dot - Image by Rich Soublet
Wrenegades: An Ecological Adventure at Circle Circle dot dot

The latest offering from Circle Circle dot dot peeks into the world of San Diego's coastal habitat and the Sisyphean struggles conservationists face when industry moves in.

We meet doctoral student Ed Leopold (Michael Nieto) in the 1990s during his failed attempt to get the cactus wren on the Endangered Species List. The overhead projection of hand-drawn infographics he uses to make his case are a nice touch, firmly planting the scene in the not-so-distant past, as is his flannel shirt.

The storylines of Ed and a local cactus wren (Alexandra Slade) collide years later when the older and flannel-less scientist is tasked to survey land for the development of a new children's hospital. While Wren embarks on an adventure to find her family a new home after theirs is threatened by climate change, Ed engages in an uphill battle to please hospital liaison Natalie (Katherine Haroff) and find a piece of land that won't undercut his life's work.

Wrenegades: An Ecological Adventure at Circle Circle dot dot

The parallel conflicts set up a promising plot, though the execution suffers, at times, to address the all-important question: "Why should I care?"

The performances are engaging, though often weighed down by heady dialogue. Tuazon-Martin is hilarious as Coyote, a young pup in search of the perfect meal. The set, costumes, and props are simple yet beautiful. The most stunning piece, the Torrey Pine (Soroya Rowley) effectively uses stilts and fabric to illustrate the tree’s majesty. Likewise, Rowley brings Commander Gray, a gray whale, to life with elegant puppetry, proving it doesn't take much more than a little imagination and a few yards of fabric to create a world worth knowing. So, when the occasional obtuse dialogue dominates a scene and stifles emotion, the teacher in me yearned for more showing, less telling.

Anne Gehman’s choreography brought the "roller river" to life, using dance to illustrate the chaos of rush hour traffic and beautifully showcase obstacles facing Coyote and Wren. The rubber-helmet wigs, worn by the local news anchors (Veronica Burgess and Tuazon-Martin), played-up the cartoonish talking heads that dominate media today. The energetic prancing of the fairy shrimp (puppeted by Rowley and Burgess) was equal parts amusing and poignant.

Less explanation and more "showing" of Ed's personal and professional conflicts would be a nice balance to a production otherwise peppered with stylized performances that amuse through caricature and inform through creativity. When Ed finally meets Wren at the end of the play, their two worlds should dovetail in resolution, yet dialogue weighs down the performance once again, leaving the energy on stage flat.

Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all

Previous article

Dress up with cork wedges from Aerosoles and a necklace from Pier 1

“For three months, I existed only on yoga pants and sweatpants.”
Next Article

Mark Dresser’s musicianship cuts through it all

Long-time UCSD professor’s telematics trials
Wrenegades: An Ecological Adventure  at Circle Circle dot dot - Image by Rich Soublet
Wrenegades: An Ecological Adventure at Circle Circle dot dot

The latest offering from Circle Circle dot dot peeks into the world of San Diego's coastal habitat and the Sisyphean struggles conservationists face when industry moves in.

We meet doctoral student Ed Leopold (Michael Nieto) in the 1990s during his failed attempt to get the cactus wren on the Endangered Species List. The overhead projection of hand-drawn infographics he uses to make his case are a nice touch, firmly planting the scene in the not-so-distant past, as is his flannel shirt.

The storylines of Ed and a local cactus wren (Alexandra Slade) collide years later when the older and flannel-less scientist is tasked to survey land for the development of a new children's hospital. While Wren embarks on an adventure to find her family a new home after theirs is threatened by climate change, Ed engages in an uphill battle to please hospital liaison Natalie (Katherine Haroff) and find a piece of land that won't undercut his life's work.

Wrenegades: An Ecological Adventure at Circle Circle dot dot

The parallel conflicts set up a promising plot, though the execution suffers, at times, to address the all-important question: "Why should I care?"

The performances are engaging, though often weighed down by heady dialogue. Tuazon-Martin is hilarious as Coyote, a young pup in search of the perfect meal. The set, costumes, and props are simple yet beautiful. The most stunning piece, the Torrey Pine (Soroya Rowley) effectively uses stilts and fabric to illustrate the tree’s majesty. Likewise, Rowley brings Commander Gray, a gray whale, to life with elegant puppetry, proving it doesn't take much more than a little imagination and a few yards of fabric to create a world worth knowing. So, when the occasional obtuse dialogue dominates a scene and stifles emotion, the teacher in me yearned for more showing, less telling.

Anne Gehman’s choreography brought the "roller river" to life, using dance to illustrate the chaos of rush hour traffic and beautifully showcase obstacles facing Coyote and Wren. The rubber-helmet wigs, worn by the local news anchors (Veronica Burgess and Tuazon-Martin), played-up the cartoonish talking heads that dominate media today. The energetic prancing of the fairy shrimp (puppeted by Rowley and Burgess) was equal parts amusing and poignant.

Less explanation and more "showing" of Ed's personal and professional conflicts would be a nice balance to a production otherwise peppered with stylized performances that amuse through caricature and inform through creativity. When Ed finally meets Wren at the end of the play, their two worlds should dovetail in resolution, yet dialogue weighs down the performance once again, leaving the energy on stage flat.

Sponsored
Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all
Previous article

Sanctified and glorified at Encanto Southern Baptist Church

Life is important on this side of death, but what really matters is eternity.
Next Article

What San Diego restaurant staffs eat, dumpster diving for dinner

How food critic Naomi Wise started her life in San Diego, how food critic Eleanor Widmer ended hers
Comments
0

Be the first to leave a comment.

Sign in to comment

Sign in

Art Reviews — W.S. Di Piero's eye on exhibits Ask a Hipster — Advice you didn't know you needed Best Buys — San Diego shopping Big Screen — Movie commentary Blurt — Music's inside track Booze News — San Diego spirits City Lights — News and politics Classical Music — Immortal beauty Classifieds — Free and easy Cover Stories — Front-page features Excerpts — Literary and spiritual excerpts Famous Former Neighbors — Next-door celebs Feast! — Food & drink reviews Feature Stories — Local news & stories From the Archives — Spotlight on the past Golden Dreams — Talk of the town Here's the Deal — Chad Deal's watering holes Just Announced — The scoop on shows Letters — Our inbox [email protected] — Local movie buffs share favorites Movie Reviews — Our critics' picks and pans Musician Interviews — Up close with local artists Neighborhood News from Stringers — Hyperlocal news News Ticker — News & politics Obermeyer — San Diego politics illustrated Of Note — Concert picks Out & About — What's Happening Overheard in San Diego — Eavesdropping illustrated Poetry — The old and the new Pour Over — Grab a cup Reader Travel — Travel section built by travelers Reading — The hunt for intellectuals Roam-O-Rama — SoCal's best hiking/biking trails San Diego Beer News — Inside San Diego suds SD on the QT — Almost factual news Set 'em Up Joe — Bartenders' drink recipes Sheep and Goats — Places of worship Special Issues — The best of Sports — Athletics without gush Street Style — San Diego streets have style Suit Up — Fashion tips for dudes Theater Reviews — Local productions Theater antireviews — Narrow your search Tin Fork — Silver spoon alternative Under the Radar — Matt Potter's undercover work Unforgettable — Long-ago San Diego Unreal Estate — San Diego's priciest pads Waterfront — All things ocean Your Week — Daily event picks
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
Close