Thursday, October 19 , 2017, 8:29 am | Fair 56º

 
 
 
 

Review: One Evening, Three Short Plays — Too Good to Miss

Dramatic Women's heartfelt production honors the vision and life of founder Bob Potter

Bob Potter was one of the founders in 1993 and executive producer of Santa Barbara’s Dramatic Women, and a noted playwright himself. An evening of three new short plays, DW’s first production since Potter’s death in 2010, honors his memory — reflecting love, honor, life, death and humanity.

Catherine Cole, once a resident of Santa Barbara and now living in Berkeley, is the writer and sole performer of Always. Together., a story lovingly told about a body forgotten by its owner until a vital component is lost. Cole sits in a chair center stage, appearing to read the story from a book in her hands, but her connection with the audience is warm and direct.

The telling of this very intimate story starts out in an abstract manner, the perspective so close it may seem impersonal. As the narrative shifts from third to first person, all comes into vivid focus. While the experience described is not familiar to most people, a deep vein of universality runs through this tale.

Wabi Sabi Underground by Ellen Anderson, DW’s artistic director, strikes a delicate balance of surreality, truth and tragedy. Two scientists (Allison Batty and Allan Stewart-Oaten) working in a lab a mile underground, tackling very different subject matter, address some of the bigger questions in life as they try to decide whether they can stand each other. As two young widows taking part in her study, Natasha Nicole Kaye and Stephanie Farnum bring unexpected elements of quirky humor.

The crowning glory of the evening is Rod Lathim’s autobiographical Unfinished Business, based on the true story of his mom’s last day.

Lathim, who founded Access Theatre, was instrumental in the development of the Marjorie Luke Theatre and is an assemblage artist and photographer, wrote and directed this deeply touching portrait of a family saying goodbye. It is sad, joyful, compelling, humorous and, most of all, real.

As the son learning profound things about himself through the experience of letting his mother go, Ryan Baumann’s performance is sincere and solid. As Mom, who still has some things to take care of on her way out, Ann Dusenberry is in turns tender, fierce and vulnerable. Solomon Ndung’u does a fine job of bringing a hint of mystery to the proceedings, and Katie Thatcher is a hoot as a free-spirited spirit.

Running through Sunday at Center Stage Theater, this heartfelt evening of theater should not be missed. See it with, or in memory of, someone you love.

— Justine Sutton of Santa Barbara is a freelance writer and frequent Noozhawk reviewer.

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click here to get started >

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made through PayPal below, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments.

Thank you for your vital support.



Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.

Sign Up Now >