North Coast REP presents Melissa James Gibson's examination of middle age in THIS, on stage through tonight, April 29.
THIS by Melissa James Gibson, is directed by Kirsten Brandt in its San Diego premiere, featuring Andrew Ableson, Richard Baird, Courtney Corey, Judith Scott and Matt Thompson. For tickets call 858-481-2155 or go online here.
As originally written in an article about the play by Dr. Donnie Matsuda, "Jane is lonely and vulnerable. Tom and Marrell are unhappy in their marriage and overwhelmed and exhausted with the demands of their infant son. Alan is ready to change his name, change his lifestyle, and change his career. And Jean-Pierre is....well....French. And a doctor. Without borders.
And then there's "This", the witty and insightful play penned by playwright Melissa James Gibson, which unites all five of these utterly urbane thirtysomethings and follows them as they re-examine their lives, question the choices they've made along the way, and search for the sources of their present-day unhappiness. You could certainly call it a mish-mash of five mid-life crises and the play even describes their collective condition as "a sudden sense of urgency mixed with intense exhaustion," but in the hands of its gifted Canadian playwright, "This" becomes much greater than the sum of all its delicate and dysfunctional parts.
Originally produced in 2009 at Playwrights Horizons in New York, "This" received mixed reviews following its Off-Broadway opening. Some critics accused the play of being too scattered in its fast-paced, fractured style of storytelling while others were disappointed with the lack of dimension in its somewhat overly stereotyped characters. While it is true that Gibson's language is idiosyncratic and her cast tends to substitute pithy remarks for emotionally deep reactions, the play actually achieves a great deal of authenticity and affection in the capable hands of North Coast REP's top notch creative team and stellar five member cast. Here, in its San Diego premiere, "This" tries incredibly hard (and mostly succeeds) in bringing the delicate state of middle age to the forefront of our collective consciousness."
Photo courtesy of Aaron Rumley.