Thursday, October 5, 2017


Christian Barillas, Kim Stauton, Larry Powell and Allan Miller 
 Photo by Debora Robinson

Rachel Bonds' new play, Curve of Departure, commissioned by South Coast Repertory Theatre, faces off with life and death.  And, with humor and grace discusses them both.  "Don't get old, boys," says Rudy (amazing Allan Miller), "Everything inside turns to liquid!" And, as Linda (Kim Staunton) hustles him into the bathroom in a hotel in Santa Fe, we see the story unfold of why Rudy's son, Cyrus, now dead and gone and not well remembered by his widowed ex-wife, Linda, nor her son, by Cyrus, Felix (Larry Powell), because he was, in a word.. a shit.  As it becomes clear that there will be a funeral for Cyrus the following day, Felix and his boy friend, Jackson (Christian Barillas) discuss the whys and wherefores of dealing with essentially saving the life of Jackson's niece who is two.

Rudy is a Jew.  His memory is fading, playing tricks and even as he fades, he knows that life is coming to an end.  He repeats himself, loses short term introductions and recalls and repeats more than one time events and good times from the past.  It's sad and  even funny sometimes because victims of aging often return to childhood and speak the truth, foregoing polite convention.  Confusion and fear creep in along with inappropriate repartee.

As this disparate family unites to uncomfortably face the family that Cyrus begat after running out on Linda and Felix, the issue of Rudy insisting that on March 15th, that will be his end emerge. He is fortunate to have his grandson, Felix, close right now and to have Felix's mom, loyally take care of him.  She's not so high on suicide, but just getting him to the bathroom on time right now is enough to keep her busy.

Director Mike Donahue is fortunate to have not only four excellent actors at his command,  but a playable scenic design by Lauren Helpern that functions without a hitch. Sunrise in Santa Fe is a coup!   It's a play in real time with real issues and the reality is that when the actors are brought into that realm and are not carried away by a muse, it's down to earth and we experience the feelings of each of these characters as they face at least the one issue that everyone faces.   The side story of what's next for Felix and Jackson and the inevitable for Rudy is touching and relevant. Serious food for thught. Applause.  It's a world premiere that speaks the truth. 

Curve of Departure
by ​Rachel Bonds
Directed by Mike Donahue
South Coast Repertory Theatre
655 Town Center Drive
Costa Mesa, CA 92626 
September 24, 2017 - October 15, 2017


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