Saturday, April 21, 2018

Eureka Day: ☼ ☼ ☼ BANG

What a show. On the plus side, the last half of Act One is one of the funniest, laugh-out-loud-fist-in-mouth twenty minutes we have seen in years. This alone makes "Eureka Day" a must-see. When Act Two of Jonathan Spector's newest comedy, having its World Premiere at Aurora Theatre, decides not to wuss out into a Hallmark Card predictable ending, this show has the chance to become a calendar marker for 2018 America.

We meet the Steering Committee for Eureka Day, a present-day politically correct private school for privileged children in Berkeley. There are Occupy Oakland posters on the wall. No one is allowed to use gender-non-inclusive terms, nor, for that matter, dishes that may contain non-recyclable materials. They are debating the use of the term "trans-racial adoptee" for their Gender pull-down menu. The discussion would be ludicrous in any other age but ours.

But not as insane as what happens when one of the children comes down with mumps. This leads to a battle between the Vaxxers and Anti-Vaxxers, made worse by the decision to try and have a calm and measured Facebook discussion about the issue. Ha ha oh ha ha ha.

Rolf Saxon plays Don, the bearded, shorts-wearing leader of the school, whose principal goal is to keep things on an even keel by reading Rumi. His ally is Suzanne, played brilliantly by Lisa Anne Porter whose conflicts become more and more obvious as time goes on. Her monologue in Act Two is a set piece you can't stop thinking about.

Elizabeth Carter is the newcomer to the board. She tries to become a voice of reason, but runs into the principal premise of this show: How can people compromise when no no one can agree on the truth?

Charisse Loriaux and Teddy Spencer play Meiko and Eli, who are having a secret affair which contributes to the disastrous events of Act Two.

We are hoping for a rewrite of Act Two, where the author will continue the energy and absurdity of Act One. Perhaps Act Two would not seem so anticlimactic if Act One were less innovative. But it is.


The San Francisco Theater Blog Awards Division awards "Eureka Day" --- crud, this is hard -- Three Stars with a Bangle of Praise. The cast, Josh Costello's Direction and the basic premise are worth One Star each and the Facebook Dialogue is absolutely side-splitting to earn the Bangle.

Don't troll me. "Eureka Day" is a Four Star show waiting to happen. So let it be, Lord. (I say "Lord," of course, in a non-religious all-inclusive sense.)

"Eureka Day"
Aurora Theatre
2081 Addison Street, Berkeley
Through May 13

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