Issue:  Vol. 47 / No. 37 / 14 September 2017
 

Blogosphere reports

Theatre

Encore Theatre Co.'s 'T.I.C.' at the Magic


Rebecca White as the Kid (foreground), with her new neighbors, played by Anne Darragh, Arwen Anderson, Liam Vincent, and Michael Shipley. Photo: James K. Faerron
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ADVERTISMENT

The gay dad who suddenly finds himself raising a sperm-donor teenage daughter with goth tendencies is amazed that she can rattle off an appropriate quote for any situation. "You know Oscar Wilde?" he asks this sullen misfit when she whips out a Wildean aphorism about the weather. "I Googled weather quotes," she flatly answers, a laptop seemingly a permanent appendage of her young body.

In T.I.C. (Trenchcoat in Common), technology provides the opportunity to be an expert on anything without having to have a clue about its significance. It also lets anyone become a published cultural observer, a role once limited to a select few hired to professionally provide that service. In Peter Sinn Nachtrieb's vastly entertaining new play at the Magic Theatre, there are serious consequences to casually posted, and creatively enhanced, observances. "I will be the Diane Arbus of this building," decides the blogging character known only as the Kid, after moving into the rear cottage of a tenants-in-common building with a view of the curious activities in each unit.

SF playwright Nachtrieb is best known for his award-winning play Hunter Gatherers, in which he explored what happens when repressed primal urges, festering in our DNA, break through our civilized facades. T.I.C. is considerably lighter than that ominously dark comedy, and even though the Kid uncovers a dastardly conspiracy among the neighbors, it's more Keystone Kops than Rear Window Hitchcockian.

Nachtrieb has a sympathetic director in Ken Prestininzi, who finds the right rhythms for the farcical underpinnings and has guided his cast to complement the dialogue with amusing fillips, working on James K. Faerron's simple but effective set. The cast of the Encore Theatre Company production is uniformly excellent, with Rebecca White as the sullen Kid, Michael Shipley as the perky gay dad, Arwen Anderson as a hyper neighborly depressive, Lance Gardner as a singer with a penchant for suicidal lyrics, Anne Darragh as a careworn earth mother, and Liam Vincent as a robustly confident exhibitionist.

Nachtrieb is a particularly skilled observer of the flotsam and jetsam of everyday life, illuminating minutiae in a way so that it becomes significantly faceted. He also has a wry, likable sense of humor that pulls an audience happily into the action. The blogosphere device that frames the plot could be little more than a techno-gimmick, but Nachtrieb uses it to illustrate the human commonality of those personal activities that arenŐt noteworthy when exercised in private, but become hideously embarrassing when witnessed by anyone else.

T.I.C. (Trenchcoat in Common) will run at the Magic Theatre through Feb. 1. Tickets are $10-$40. Call (800) 838-3006 or go to www.encoretheatrecompany.org.






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