Regional Reviews: San Diego
Oswald's tale, set in 2012, covers an important chapter in the lives of a father, Grey (Andrew Oswald), and his grown son Kid (August Forman). Grey appears spacey and reflects on his past after his wife's death. Although Grey loved his wife, he was in a longstanding romantic relationship with Janice (Marci Anne Wuebben). Out of the blue, Grey spontaneously decides to surprise Kid with a visit to his Brooklyn apartment (which is vividly represented by Yi-Chien Lee's wooden set). Originally born a girl, Kid transitioned to a man, a decision that Grey initially did not support. Grey soon catches up with Kid, who works as a writer, and meets his girlfriend and editor, Rose (Andrea Agosto).
In a generally effective style, Oswald's script consistently switches from extensive monologues to casual conversations. Speeches by Grey, Kid and Rose can make audiences feel like they are seeing a book being adapted for the stage, which works, given Kid's career as an author. The dialogue in discussions shared by Grey and Kid uses awkward humor and pathos that is realistic and will connect with theatregoers regardless of sexuality. Most of this narrative is satisfying, with only a sequence or two that could be improved.
Janice's first monologue is a little too lengthy, and it slows down the pace for a few minutes. Also, while Kid and Rose deal with problems throughout the story that are authentic, a conflict in the last part of the script is more forced. It should be noted that Kid and Rose would be experiencing practically the same exact struggles, even if Kid was not transgender. Oswald's writing is so engaging that the play is still a great one despite these flaws.
Director Bea Basso allows Oswald's prose to shine onstage. Basso directs in an intimate style that is perfect for the University Heights' space. Her staging helps theatregoers focus on revealing moments shared between the various characters. She works with lighting designer Joel Britt and sound designer MaeAnn Ross to depict a handful of imaginary sequences that are hilariously and creatively executed. Basso deserves credit for getting memorable performances across the board.
Oswald and Forman portray men who are far from perfect, yet they infuse their roles with sensitivity and humanity. The chemistry they share together is humorous, moving, and eventually tear-inducing as the plot progresses. Agosto and Wuebben hold their own as the women in the lives of Grey and Kid. Both actresses bring fully formed personalities to the complicated love interests. Salomon Maya gets several funny moments as Rose's boss Rick, particularly in a clever New York joke about Queens.
Oswald and Basso should be commended for working on such a meaningful play about sexuality and human connection. A Kind of Weather deserves a future beyond San Diego.
A Kind of Weather runs through March 8, 2020, at Diversionary Theatre, 4545 Park Blvd # 101, San Diego CA. Tickets start at $15.00 and can be purchased online at www.diversionary.org or by phone at 619-220-0097.