Playwright Charles L. Mee, Jr. knows who is with whom in Summertime, but his characters don't, and they must figure out their complex romantic and sexual relationships in the world premiere play, debuting at San Francisco's Magic Theatre July 7. Directed by Kenn Watt, Summertime began performances June 30 for a run through July 23.
Set in and around a garden terrace, Summertime's characters wander in and out of a series of scenes, as each expresses and discovers his or her relations to the others while facing questions of sexual identity, beauty and other cultural norms. The play becomes more confusing, more comic and more heart-breaking as the couplings become clearer and more interwoven.
Summertime was workshopped at the Magic in 1999 in collaboration with The Fifth Floor ensemble and with a mingling of disabled and non disabled actors, in order to further debate American ideals of attractiveness and sexual desire.
A reading at New York City's Public Theatre followed in April 2000 with Mary Testa, Peter Francis James and Roger Bart in the cast.
Mee, a playwright, historian and editor, is the author of the 2000 Humana Fest hit, Big Love, Another Person is a Foreign Country, Trojan Women: A Love Story, The Berlin Circle (directed by Tina Landau), and Orestes. Watt, noted for his avant-garde style, founded both the Encore Theatre Company and The Fifth Floor. His productions have included works at the Actor's Theatre of Louisville with Ann Bogart, American Repertory Theatre, Marin Theatre Company, and California Shakespeare Festival.
Tickets are $30-$25. The Magic Theatre is located in Building D at the Fort Mason Center on Marina Boulevard. For reservations, (415) 441-8822. The Magic Theatre is on line at http://www.magictheatre.org.
-- By Christine Ehren