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Home / Articles / Arts / Theater /  ‘The Exit Interview’ enters wild Brechtian world
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Wednesday, Oct 10, 2012

‘The Exit Interview’ enters wild Brechtian world

Subversive San Diego Rep play leads our rundown of local productions

By David L. Coddon
theater Nick Cagle and Jo Anne Glover
- Photo by Daren Scott

Bertolt Brecht believed that theater should be dialectical, not escapist, making it ripe for commentary. Taking a page from Brecht, playwright William Missouri Downs’ The Exit Interview strips the form of its fourth wall, defies structure and fosters an environment for razor-sharp sociopolitical observation.

San Diego Repertory Theatre is one of five American theaters premiering The Exit Interview, under the auspices of the National New Play Network. Sam Woodhouse directs a cast of six, portraying multiple characters, that includes Rep Artist-in-Residence and Culture Clash co-founder Herbert Siguenza along with Jo Anne Glover, Linda Libby, Lisel Gorell-Getz and Fran Gercke (plus newcomer Nick Cagle). A free-for-all of vignettes, Exit loosely revolves around the dismissal from a university of Professor Dick Fig (Siguenza) and the on-campus rampage of a masked gunman. But the emphasis is on stinging jabs at Fox News, Jesse Helms, Mitt Romney and institutionalized religion, science and academia. Mid-show commercials for everything from push-up bras to the Rep itself add to the subversive fun, as do Glover and Gorell-Getz as snarky cheerleaders. This Brechtian quest for the truth—and indictment of small talk and small-mindedness— could use some trimming, but it’s a risk that is mostly worth taking.

The Exit Interview runs through Oct. 21 at the Lyceum Theatre, Downtown. $37 and up.

Good People, David Lindsay-Abaire’s play set in both working-class South Boston and upper-class Chestnut Hill, is having its local premiere at The Old Globe’s Sheryl and Harvey White Theatre. It’s intended to be a biting commentary on the class divide, though it never decides whether it wants to bare its teeth or be a salty quip-fest around the bingo table.

Its characters—bingo-playing “Southies” and lace-curtain Chestnutters—are rather unlikable, though Robin Pearson Rose’s Dottie the landlady is like out of an R-rated episode of The Golden Girls. Struggling single mother Maggie (Eva Kaminsky) is so desperately short on self-esteem and self-respect that she inspires pity more than sympathy, especially in Good People’s more confrontational second act. Good People runs through Oct. 28. $29 and up.

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Around the World in 80 Days: It’s 1872 and smart guy Phileas Fogg sets out to prove he can get around the globe in less than three months. How quaint! In previews through Oct. 11, it opens for real on Oct. 12 at Lamb’s Players Theatre in Coronado.

Disney’s The Little Mermaid: The 1989 cartoon movie comes to life. Presented by Premiere Production, it runs Oct. 11 through 13 at the Moonlight Amphitheatre in Vista.

Mauritius: A handful of characters try to out-con each other in order to get their hands on what might be a rare stamp collection. Runs Oct. 11 through 13 in the Stagehouse Theatre at Grossmont College in El Cajon.

Over the River and Through the Woods: When Nick tells his two sets of grandparents that he’s been offered a job on the other coast, they try to keep him around by dangling a hot chick in front of his face. Opens Oct. 12 at the Broadway Theatre in Vista.

The Sugar Witch: In the San Diego premiere of this Southern gothic drama, a woman tries to rid a Florida family of a curse that their own grandmother placed on them. Opens Oct. 12 at OnStage Playhouse in Chula Vista.

Now Playing

Sam Bendrix at the Bon Soir: It’s 1958 in Greenwich Village, and a singer and his band are performing their last New York gig before skedaddling out of town. Presented as part of La Jolla Playhouse’s Without Walls program, it runs through Oct. 10 at Martinis Above Fourth in Hillcrest.

Once on This Island: In this one-act musical, the power goes out during a house-warming party in New Orleans and the attendees gather ‘round for a comforting story. Presented by Pickwick Players, it runs through Oct. 13 at C3 Performing Arts Center in Grantville.

Footloose: The Musical: We neglected to include this show, about a teenager from the city who shows a conservative small town how to have a good time, in last week’s listings. Produced by San Diego Musical Theatre, it runs through Oct. 14 at the Birch North Park Theatre. 

Pippin: A boy prince searches for the meaning of life in this re-imagined version of the 1971 musical. Runs through Oct. 14 at Diversionary Theatre in University Heights.

Allegiance—A New American Musical: Star Trek’s George Takei stars in this remembrance of the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II. Through Oct. 21 on the Donald and Darlene Shiley Stage at The Old Globe Theatre in Balboa Park.

The Exit Interview: Professor Dick Fig is canned from his job in this sharp comedy about politics, religion, the media and truth. Presented by San Diego Repertory Theatre, it runs through Oct. 21 at the Lyceum Space at Horton Plaza, Downtown.

Glengarry Glen Ross: David Mamet’s searing play follows a handful of real-estate salesmen pitted against one another in a lose-and-your-fired contest. Through Oct. 21 at La Jolla Playhouse.

Kita y Fernanda: Two girls—one a have, the other a have-not—grow up together under the same roof in Texas. Presented by Mo’olelo Performing Arts Company, it runs through Oct. 21 at the 10th Avenue Theatre, Downtown.

Mistakes Were Made: In a West Coast premiere, an embattled B-list theater producer attempts to mount an epic show about the French Revolution. Presented by Cygnet Theatre, it runs through Oct. 21 at Old Town Theatre.

Doris and Me: A man simply can’t get enough of midcentury singer and actor Doris Day, who, incidentally, is still alive at 88 years old. Through Oct. 23 at Welk Resorts Theatre in Escondido.

Julia: In a world-premiere political thriller set in 1970s San Diego, the wife of a Mexican presidential candidate is drawn to her chauffer. Presented by Ion Theatre, it runs through Oct. 27 at BLK BOX @ 6th & Penn Theatre.

Good People: A lower-class South Boston woman loses her cashier job and goes to her old boyfriend, a doctor, for help. Through Oct. 28 at The Old Globe’s Sheryl and Harvey White Theatre in Balboa Park.

Rent: Here’s your chance to see this musical, about young adults struggling to survive in New York, if you missed it recently the Birch North Park Theatre. Through Oct. 28 at Welk Resort Theatre in Escondido.

The Trestle at Pope Lick Creek: In a small town during the Great Depression, a speeding train beckons a couple of bored teens. Through Oct. 28 at Moxie Theatre in Rolando.

miXtape: Generation X was torn between disillusionment and hope in this cavalcade of music from the 1980s. Produced by Lamb’s Players Theatre, it runs through Nov. 25 at the Horton Grand Theatre, Downtown.

Once Upon a Wedding: Zaniness abounds during a wedding gone horribly wrong, and it does so while patrons dine aboard a boat making its way around Mission Bay, beginning at the Bahia Resort Hotel. Runs on various dates through Dec. 13.

Crime Pays: A radio game show with dastardly overtones, served up with dinner, is presented by Mystery Cafe at Imperial House restaurant in Bankers Hill.