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San Diego Uptown News | Feb. 4-17, 2011 SCOTT MARKS / FILM REVIEW


'Every Day' feels like a soap opera


“Every Day” Written and Directed by Richard Levine


Starring: Liev Schreiber, Helen Hunt, Carla Gugino, Brian Dennehy and Eddie Izzard Rating: 1.5


St. Peter stood at the Pearly Gates with arms open wide wait- ing to greet Mother Teresa. “You have spent a lifetime ministering to the poor, sick, orphaned and dying,” he wept. “Anything you want, just name it.” “Well,” mused the Nobel Prize winning humanitarian, “I did always want to direct.”


'Tragedy of the Common's' protagonist, Dakin Adams, is played by Jim Winker while Veronic Murphy stars as his wife Macy. The play, writen by La Jolla screenwriter and playwright Stephen Metcalfe is a broody, yet honest comedy.


Metcalfe’s Old Town premiere is anything but a ‘Tragedy’


“THE TRAGEDY OF THE COMMONS” When: Through February 20


Where:Cygnet Theatre (Old Town) Cost: $24-$54 Contact: cygnettheatre.com or 337-1525.


By Charlene Baldridge SDUN Theatre Critic


“Write what you know” is com- mon advice to writers, even writers of fiction. Though his characters are pure fiction, well-known La Jolla screenwriter and playwright Stephen Metcalfe got the core idea for his world premiere play, “The Tragedy of the Commons,” from reality. Some time ago a gargantuan home was built in La Jolla Shores, effectively blocking the views of numerous homeowners who’d enjoyed their own personal sunsets for decades. Then he came across scientist Gar- rett Hardin’s 1968 "tragedy of the commons theory," which postulates that when individuals act in self- serving ways and ignore what is best for the common good, damage and even destruction of the “commons” occurs. Examples include over- fishing, the extinction of species, and the destruction of rain forests. Metcalfe’s protagonist, Dakin Adams (Jim Winker), is a 60-year- old former schoolteacher who occupies himself with a daily philosophical blog titled “Notes from Zone 10,” which he sends to former students and colleagues, family and friends. Dakin’s wife, Macy (Veronica Murphy), oc- cupies herself with gardening and long walks with the couple’s two big dogs. Despite a recent, griev- ous loss, the couple apparently is working it out. Dakin’s carefully tended, ritual equilibrium is undermined when next-door neighbor Carl (Tim West) announces the sale of their home. Dakin fears that Diane (Mo- nique Gaffney), the new owner, will raze her house and build up. When his fears prove true, Dakin spends time in conversation with his and Macy’s eldest son, businessman Spencer (Francis Gercke), and in consultation with their second son, Alan (Manny Fernandes),


an attorney. Despite counsel and the tender ministrations of Macy, nothing can be done, and eventu- ally Dakin finds a solution in what might be termed a courageous rite of self-purification. “The Tragedy of the Com- mons,” which is laced with local references and humor throughout, belongs to Winker, an associate artist of the Old Globe Theatre and a respected classical actor and teacher (University of California, San Diego). His performance is magnificent, eloquent and subdued and though Dakin is not as im- mense as Lear, Winker’s perfor- mance makes the man every bit as heart breaking.


As always, Metcalfe’s char-


acters are affectingly flawed and human. We care what happens to them (he is author of “Strange Snow,” which became the film “Jacknife” and “Vikings,” both produced by the Old Globe, among many others). Following “Jack- nife,” [sic] Metcalfe worked in Hol- lywood for years, adapting novels and fixing screenplays originally written by others. Now he has re- turned to writing plays, for which we are grateful because we can see the fruits of his labor up close and on a devastatingly personal level. As always, Cygnet’s production


values are exemplary, beginning with the sensitivity of Artistic Director Sean Murray’s staging and continuing with the airy set by


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Sean Fanning, beautifully lighted by Shawna Cadence and given flavor by George Yé’s original music and sound design. Corey Johnston’s costumes are exception- ally elegant, especially for Macy (casual) and Spencer (a three-piece business suit to die for).


For years this joke was best put to use when referencing ego-driven actors aching to make the leap to the director’s chair. Nowadays it’s getting even bigger laughs when linked to small screen executive produc- ers with entitlement issues. “The X-Files‘” R. W. Goodwin (“Alien Trespass”), “Lost's” J.J. Abrams (“Star Trek”) and “The West Wing‘s” John Wells (“The Com- pany Men”) all took the plunge and now Richard Levine’s (“Nip/ Tuck”) name can be added to the list of auteur wannabes. Having never watched an epi- sode of “Star Trek,” I can’t vouch for the quality of Abrams’ recent


big screen update, but if the other three crossovers are any indica- tion it’s damn near impossible for the money men to swim clear of the wellspring. Ned (Liev Schreiber) is a


frustrated artist forced by fate (and a mortgage) to write for a vulgar sitcom which pays him handsomely to come up with fresh spins on sodomy and bestiality jokes. “Sex with one’s dog is the new sex with one’s cat,” spouts a colleague during a writing session. His boss’s (the electrifyingly crude Eddie Izzard) daily affirmation is “I don’t give a (bleep) about ‘unrelatability’ as long as it is shocking!” Right now Ned is more concerned with how he’s going to deny his teenage son Jonah’s (Ezra Miller) plea to attend a gay college prom— overprotective dad fears that an oversexed jock might put the moves on his oldest boy—and the prospects of his cantankerous,


see Day, page 16


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TOM FORD


Love a new pair!


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