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“Social Security” in Pacifica Spindrift’s New Black Box

November 2, 2013

The Spindrift Theater (the building, not the troupe) in Pacifica suffered a structural near-catastrophe in August—a major ceiling beam was about to give way, and the stage was closed. Nothing daunted, the troupe put on their production of Noises Off on a borrowed stage, but tonight’s opening of Social Security proved they are HOME AGAIN!.

I knew this new production would be staged in the Muriel Watkins Gallery, an auxiliary room of the theater building. I know this room, I thought. How are they going to pull this off?

The answer is, with an unmitigated, unqualified, HUGE SUCCESS! To start with, the unsung backstage hands transformed this smallish room into an intimate and beautifully designed black box. It seats about 30—reserve early, Andrew Bergman’s wildly funny Social Security is sure to be a hit. Spindrift has added two shows to their normal season, but this probably won’t be enough the sellout crowds expected for this wonderfully hilarious performance.

The intimate black-box setting brings each of us right into the apartment living room of NY art dealers David and Barbara (real-life husband-and-wife Gary and Joanie Pugh Newman), just as Barbara’s uptight sister Trudy (Joy Eaton) and her nerdy husband Martin (Harry Sellenthin) come to call with some bad news. This first act taken on its own is hilarious. Keep an eye on Trudy—to me this character is the heart of the show, and Ms. Eaton’s subtle performance makes everything else in the play work.

And work it does. There are many, many laughs in this show, and they only gather strength as it moves along. One of the unintended consequences of this newly created black box is the contagion of laughter. We are all in the living room with these souls and their problems and reactions become our own as only such an intimate setting can permit.

If you thought the first act was funny, wait until you see the second. Now Jackie Blue as mother and mother-in-law Sophie starts to steal the show, even moreso when new love interest Maurice (Jim Sousa) shows up to light her fire. You’ll just have to see it.

Act three brings home some of the sublter lessons we’re all going to have to learn about how to deal with aging, with aging parents, with the loss of our illusions and the changes that time can bring to our lives. With a whole lot of laughs. As it should be.

Special kudos to director John Tranchitella, for putting the whole package together, and to the crew for creating the Muriel Watkins Stage.

Don’t miss it! Limited engagement and seating. Don’t be left out of this one.

Through November 24, 2013 at Spindrift Players Theater at 1050 Crespi Dr., Pacifica CA
Box Office: 650-359-8002

Review by David Hirzel

One Comment leave one →
  1. November 2, 2013 2:03 pm

    Vry interesting. Congrats 2 all. Thnks 4 info.

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