Over the Thanksgiving break Jenn and I went a little crazy and bought season passes to both Segerstrom and South Coast Repertory. The two are very different theater experiences. Segerstrom is much more of your mainstream theater with Broadway style performances. Whereas South Coast Repertory (SCR) is much more your indie small scale performances. Our season pass at SCR entitled us to four plays of our choice. That was the hardest part as all of them sounded compelling. However we made our choices and just wrapped up our first full season at SCR and loved every second of it.
Going to a Place Where You Already Are (March 18th, 2016)
What an incredible way to jump back into seeing plays at SCR. Walking into this play I had completely forgotten the premise and am so glad it worked out that way. We also somehow managed to grab one of the small boxes to catch the play making it an even more memorable experience. The play in a nutshell was about an older couple dealing with some life altering news that has one of them knowing their life was coming to an end.
It was deep look at how each of them dealt with it. It also spent a lot of time talking about how each of them viewed the afterlife. I got choked up immediately and by the end was full blown crying. It was such a touching, soft and funny look at something we all have to deal with, growing old, getting bad news, and yes even dying. I felt completely beat up getting out of SCR. I remember walking with Jenn to our car and just saying how much this play touched me. It felt like the couple let us have a glimpse into the hardest part of their life and I felt better for it.
Future Thinking (April 8th, 2016)
I remember when we purchased these tickets that this was the one I got to pick. This play is really about Peter a pet photographer who attends Comic Con even though he had a restraining order placed again him the previous years Comic Con for bringing a vile of blood to his favorite actress. The first act is him being arrested by the Comic Con security for once again attending the actresses booth. What follows is 45 minutes of pretty hilarious banter between Peter and the Comic Con head of security.
The other part of the story revolves around the actress that Peter is stalking, Chiara. She is your prototypical starlet who gives off the privileged Hollywood type. However as the play starts to dig deeper into her character you learn about her own inner pain and struggle. What transpires is a twisting story that has the two cross paths again in the most bizarre fashion.
And really that's the best way I can describe Future Thinking, bizarre. It was enjoyably odd, but odd all the same. And for the first time I got the opinion that the cast also wasn't convinced of the material as they also had the shortest curtain call ever almost running off the stage before anyone could clap for their good performance.
Office Hour (April 29th, 2016)
I'm going to struggle to really capture the emotions I felt with Office Hour, but I will try my best. Office Hour is really what I love about going to the theater, it challenge me in ways I didn't even think possible. The opening scene is a conversation between three college professors discussing a student who scares them both with his writing and his personality. Two of the three completely berate his character and write him off as a lost cause. The third played professor (played by Sandra Oh of Grey's Anatomy fame) is just about to have this young man as a student and remains optimistic.
What transpires is an office hour where the student comes to Sandra's office hour and what transpires is a real-time office hour. The two feel each other out and as they big to brake down barriers you begin to learn how broken both are. The play does some interesting work with lighting to both show the passing of time and also the various paths in which a conversation can take. At the end though its a deep look how quick we are to judge and point the finger. How we as a society don't understand nor accept things different to us. It also shows how powerful other people's opinions can hamper someones life. It was a breathtaking performance. I completely lost track of where I was and fully engaged into what turned out to be one of the best plays I've ever seen. It was emotional, it was challenging, and at the end it was breathtaking. Jenn and I immediately stood to our feet to give among much of the rest of the crowd a standing ovation for an incredible performance.
Amadeus (May 27th, 2016)
What an incredible play. When Jenn and I grabbed our ticket and made our way to our seat we knew next to nothing about Amadeus. This is slightly embarrassing to admit but we picked this play based off the artwork on the website rather then the play description. When we sat down though we found out that it was a 3+ hour play about the death/murder of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.
In all honesty neither of us knew much about Mozart going in. We love going to the symphony but our knowledge on the subject is lacking at best. But we were a little intimidated by a 3+ hour play on the subject after a long week. Luckily the play and its actors were incredible. Although not the most memorable of the four plays we saw at South Coast it might have been some of its finest acting. The set pieces were wonderful and the music was put in just enough to keep the story going. We both loved Amadeus and now feel like we know a lot more then we did before coming which makes us far better prepared for Vienna this fall.