Thursday, June 28, 2012

"Reunion" ☼ ☼

The reunion that playwright Kenn Rabin seems to be talking about in his two act drama "Reunion" is not the one we think is about to happen. Tom Gillette (Marvin Green) had affairs with two of his high school students while he was their drama teacher. One of them, Valerie (Alexandra Creighton), accused him of rape and had him sent to prison, where he remains; the other, Julie (Lauren English) has continued corresponding with Tom in prison, and is attempting to wring a confession out of Valerie in order to gain Tom's freedom.

It's the developing friendship between Valerie and Julie that is the real relationship here. The two women could not be more opposite but they each have found different ways to deal with what happened to them in High School. The show presents issues that need to be talked about -- for example, when is sex consensual and when is it not -- but the problem with this play is that you'd just as soon never see any of these people again. Tom is pure smarm, Valerie is too stupid for words and Julie's delusional relationship with Tom is, above all, terribly sad.

Greene's Gillette is hard to swallow -- can this obvious a predator fool the prison psychiatrist (Emily Rosenthal) this easily?  Do they really do those penis tests? Are we watching a universe so unlike the one we live in that whatever happens makes sense?

Maybe. Creighton's Valerie is the one who appears to grow -- she's the strongest. The others just seem trapped. This isn't a show you want to think too closely about.


The San Francisco Theater Blog Awards division awards "Reunion" Two Stars. As part of SF Playhouse's excellent Sandbox Series, this World Premiere will give playwright Rabin plenty of feedback to work with. We love shows with premises that make us work. If Mr. Rabin can give some more heart to Valerie, Julie and Tom he will bring us into their story, rather than keep us out in the audience, in the dark, happy we're out here and not in there.

San Francisco Playhouse
Sandbox Series
533 Sutter Street, San Francisco
Through June 30

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