The current production, continuing through Nov. 23 in the Morena/Bay Park district, is 2006 Kesselring Prize recipient Mark Schultz’s “Everything Will Be Different,” packed with all the above and featuring a brilliant ensemble of exceptionally well cast, well directed actors.
Helen is dead. Harry, her widower, uses alcohol and television as anesthetics. Charlotte, their teenage daughter, acts out possible antidotes to her grief and loneliness, taking counsel from friends in hallucinations and true would-be friends in the form of Franklin, a neighborhood boy, and Gary Smith, a high school guidance counselor. Though virginal, Charlotte believes her future lies in becoming a porn star — adulation no matter the cost.
Germani’s psychologically true and taut production exposes the black, hopeless pit of extreme loss, especially as it affects an inarticulate middle-age father and a pubescent girl who lacks wisdom and coping skills and guidance, and who explores every possible avenue by which she might gain the attention, love and reassurance she needs — regarding her person, her psyche and her budding sexuality. Perversely and cruelly, she manipulates, seeking to sully and harm those who truly care, and throwing herself at a handsome but hollow jock (Joshua Manley).
This may sound grim. It is. It’s a piece of reality seldom visited, seldom discussed in polite society: the fallout of death. But there are compensations in Schultze’s play — unexpected music, darkly funny moments and such splendid acting that one cares for all these people, most especially Charlotte, who is so lost. The playwright writes brilliantly, in short bursts when creating his paralyzed mourners, and in longer, poetic phrases when delusion-sprung characters speak, offering beauty tips (some hilarious) and relating the myth of Helen of Troy and the daughter she left behind when she was abducted. It works.
Michelle Procopio, familiar to Lynx audiences as L’il Bit in “How I Learned to Drive,” is mesmerizing as Charlotte. Bill Kehayias, who portrayed the drunken Sammy in “In Arabia We’d All Be Kings” breaks one’s heart as Harry, the father paralyzed by grief. Walter Ritter, who was also seen in “Arabia,” does his best work as the guidance counselor. Kevin Koppman-Gue, seen many times on local stages, is excellent as Franklin. Inhabiting Charlotte’s projected fantasies are Joan Westmoreland as girlfriend Heather and Alicia Randolph as Young Char.
“Everything Will Be Different” plays at 8 p.m. Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays ($20-$15) and 9 p.m. Tuesdays ($10) through Nov. 23 at San Diego Danceworks, 2653 Ariane Drive, San Diego (map and directions at Web site), www.lynxperformance.com or (619) 889-3190.