Patrons of the Jewel Theatre Company may fondly recall its production of a play by Santa Cruz author Kate Hawley back in 2015. That excellent play, Complications From A Fall, is a kind of companion piece to Hawley' newest work, Coming Of Age, "a serious comedy" now having its world premiere at JTC.
Both plays deal with the theme of aging parents and their effect on the lives of their middle-aged children.
Hawley is particularly incisive in exploring the radical idea that parents may have once had —or continue to have — separate, and interesting lives outside the box into which their children have always confined them.
Coming Of Age is less overtly comic than its predecessor, although it still has plenty of witty dialogue. Protagonist, Ian (the entertaining Mike Ryan), author of literary novels, drops in to the family home in upstate New York to visit his father, John (J. Michael Flynn), an acclaimed university professor, now retired, and recently widowed.
They've been setting up this visit for weeks, but John is surprised to see him, and doesn't seem too eager to have his son stick around. Ian finds out why with the arrival of Deirdre (Martha Brigham). Once a bedazzled student of John's, nearly 40 years younger than he is, Deirdre has become a fixture in the household.
As discreet as she is in person, her presence chips new fissures into the already tense father-son relationship.
|Flynn, Brigham, Ryan: Menage a trois|
Flynn's portrait of John as a cranky oldster betrayed by time is tempered by flashes of the magnificent lion he must have once been.
And, as usual with JTC, tech work is first-class, especially Kent Dorsey's outstanding Craftsman-style set. You will want to live here!