World Premiere of Kenn Rabin's "Reunion"

Trust SF Playhouse to present intriguing dramas in their Sandbox Series.  This time the company is presenting a world premiere drama of “consensual” sex between an adult and a minor.  Kenn Rabin’s interesting two hour drama “Reunion” a co-production of  PlayGround is now at the intimate second theatre of the company.   This is the story of two women who had sexual relationships with their high school drama teacher 13 years earlier.  The two have crossed paths again and they are now uncovering their past together all the while, anticipating the teachers release from a psychiatric institution.

Julie (Lauren English) is obsessed with the prospect of clearing the teacher’s name and hopes to get Val (Alexandra Creighton) to confess that their long affair when she was 17 was by mutual consent.  As fate would have it, Val has just arrived in Berkeley where Julie has a flat.  Val is looking for an inexpensive place to live and moves into the flat.  The drama is played on two levels of the intimate theatre and the action unfolds, sometimes concurrently.  On the stage we see the well-furnished hypothetical apartment of UC Berkeley Assistant Professor Julie. On the floor of the theatre just a few feet from the audience we see a less realize prison interview room where the teacher Tom Gillette (Marvin Greene) is being tested and screened by a prison psychiatrist (Emily Rosenthal) in preparation for his release.

“Reunion” seems to be a work in progress as the women in the first act are not fully drawn out.  Much of the first scenes gets bogged down.  However the acting of the four actors and director Louis Parnell rise above the script to make this a fascinating play. Marvin Green is outstanding in the role of Tom.   He is extremely charismatic as the teacher and instinctively engaging that could be exasperating but yet winning at the same time.  He skillfully peels away his character to reveal skillful elusion, self-love and nervousness.

Lauren English gives a perfect performance as a person who is meritoriously frazzled and withdrawn without it becoming a character. It’s a great performance of a woman who is awkward, inhibited and preoccupied.  Alexandria Creighton is very sensuous as Val. She is compelling in a scene showing the lasting damage Tom did in their “romantic” affair.  Rita Baird is first rate as the prison interviewer.  She portrays the character businesses like and very unapproachable. Steve Bologna has little to do playing the prison attendant and a cowboy that Val has picked up as a one night stand. Director Louis Parnell succeeds in creating dramatic tension between the characters.

“Reunion” plays through June 30th at the SF Playhouse, 533 Sutter Street, San Francisco. For tickets call 415-677-9596 or on line at  Coming up next in the main theatre is the reinvented musical “My Fair Lady” opening on July 14th