Sunday, October 17, 2010

"Seven Days": ☼ ☼ ☼

The World Premiere of Daniel Heath's "Seven Days" shows the playwright to be sharp, witty, crafty and young. His plot concept (the graph above -- where people plot their love lives) and his characters (the young couple, the older couple, the much older couple) demonstrate his talent; Susi Damilano's direction manages to allow a whirlwind of movement on a small stage, while the author's viewpoint that all relationships are doomed prove the author to either be very wise or in need of a new graph.

David Cramer steals the show. As Tank, the father of Robert (Aaron Murphy), Tank is one of the two characters who make us laugh out loud and whose inner worlds we care about. Tank is half of the older couple, and Anna (Jessica Coghill) is half of the younger couple. Tank and Anna get all the great lines. Perhaps Anna's view on relationships comes closest to that of the playwright: "We can never un-remember what we want to forget most."

Tank is fed up with everybody, but is strangely attracted to Beatrice, a woman he meets at an art installation (Phoebe Moyer), who just happens to be the mother of Al the artist (Cole Alexander Smith).

Al is everybody's problem. As the installation artist whose idea it is to have people plot their love lives in public so he can use them in his newest art piece, and as Anna's would-be fiancee despite the fact that he is forever pointing a video camera in her face, it would probably make some sense to have him not be quite so dweeby. That Anna, who has not just fallen off the turnip truck, could love Al, who acts maybe fourteen years old, is not all that plausible.

Or is it? Maybe this is the point. We don't love whom we're supposed to, like Robert and Eve (Donna Dahrouge), and we don't NOT love those with whom we share little (like Tank and Beatrice). We love because we love. Our amorous lives start out at Point A and end at Point B, which might take seven days, or a month or a decade, and when it's over it's over. You probably have to be under thirty for this to be a surprise to you.

Nice. As Tank says: "That's my line. That's all I get."


RATINGS: ☼ ☼ ☼

The San Francisco Theater Blog Awards Division awards "Seven Days" Three Stars. This is a strong rating for a World Premiere. There is a very nice synchronicity in the Sandbox Series at SF Playhouse, with playwright, actors and production team always enthusiastic to showcase promising new writers. The lines on the graph seem to be pointing up.

"Seven Days"
San Francisco Playhouse (Studio B)
533 Sutter Street, San Francisco
Wed-Sat through Nov. 6

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