THE SCENE at SF Playhouse

Got a chance to see Theresa Rebeck’s THE SCENE at SF Playhouse a few days ago. This is the second or third show I’ve seen them do, and once again I’m blown away by the casting. These guys get some unbelievable actors: Howard Swain, Aaron Davidman, Nancy Carlin (filling in for the ailing Daphne Zuniga) and Heather Gordon.

s.pngHeather Gordon is the real find. A lot of times when you see a play featuring a character that’s supposed to be a hot party girl, you either end up with a good actor who’s pretty but not a drop-dead gorgeous beauty pageant type (or she’d be in Manhattan at the kinds of parties this play mocks) — or you end up with a beautiful model type who can’t act. Somehow they found both: an actor who’s done Shakespeare and Arthur Miller, and yet happens to be the reigning Miss Marin County.

I devote a whole paragraph to her because her character Clea is the pivotal one in the play. We first meet her at a trendy Manhattan party, where she annoys the hell out of Charlie, a snobby hipster who finds her too dumb to bother with. But then they meet again, and the story spins off into a send-up of conventional soap opera scenes, where the opposite of what you expect usually happens. Wife catches husband sleeping with younger woman? You’d expect the younger woman to run out of the room, the wife to yell and scream, right? Instead, a very funny scene ensues.

If I were a reviewer, I would say that the second act is a little less tight than the hilarious first act, although the acting (and directing!) (and set!) stay topnotch all the way through. Luckily, I’m not a reviewer, so I don’t have to delve into it. Instead, I’ll just say it was a fun show, one that had us happily buzzing afterwards, and one we were still talking about over beers later that night. There’s one week left, should you want to see it, and the comments will still be open if you want to talk about it, or tell me how Daphne Zuniga was in the role that Nancy Carlin handled quite well.


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