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Gerald Carpenter: SBCC Theatre Plus Alan Ayckbourn Equals Summer Fun

Time of My Life opens Wednesday and runs through July 24

It may be my imagination, or plain wishful thinking, but it looks kind of like Santa Barbara (et ses environs) is developing something like a summer theater season.

On Wednesday, July 7, in any case, the SBCC Theatre Group is opening a production of Alan Ayckbourn’s Time of My Life in the Interim Theatre (where the group has their being while the Garvin and Jurkowitz theaters undergo major renovations).

Directed by Rick Mokler and starring Leesa Beck, Brian Harwell, Josh Jenkins, Jon Koons, Ed Lee, Katie Thatcher and Marisa Welby-Maiani, Time of My Life will run through July 24.

Ayckbourn is one of the most successful living playwrights writing in English, author of 74 full-length plays, as well as a highly sought-after theatrical director with more than 300 productions to his credit.

Time of My Life, which premiered in 1992, was a midlevel hit at the time, but has been revived recently to ever-increasing applause. The action begins in a restaurant, where Laura Stratton is “celebrating” her 59th birthday with her husband Gerry, their son Glyn and his wife, Stephanie, and their other son, Adam, and his girlfriend, Maureen. After the opening scene, the action moves back and forth to other restaurants, along three interwoven timelines. As usual with Ayckbourn, the play is both hilarious and deeply disturbing.

Usually cagey about the genesis of his works, the author admits that this one got its start from a conversation he overheard in a restaurant: “Restaurants are great places for things you don’t intend to say. Mostly people intend to have discussions about their personal lives at home, but I have seen more human dramas unfold in restaurants than anywhere else. Just the other day I watched a couple arrive at a restaurant looking happy. Then things started to look grim and suddenly he was gone. She was just left sitting there, with her plate, crying. It was as though I had seen a whole relationship disintegrate.”

Time of My Life will be performed at 8 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday and at 2 p.m. Sundays in the Interim Theatre on SBCC’s West Campus, 900 block of Cliff Drive.

Tickets are $15 for general admission, $12 for seniors and $8 for students, and can be purchased or reserved by calling the Interim Theatre box office at 805.965.5935.

— Gerald Carpenter covers the arts as a Noozhawk contributor. He can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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