LEISURE

It’s ‘The Season of Love’ at SR Theatre

Eric Poppick and Jill Drexler perform in a dramatic scene from the Scripps Ranch Theatre production of “The Season of Love.” (photo by Ken Jacques)

It’s ‘The Season of Love’ at SR Theatre

Scripps Ranch Theatre will stage “Season of Love,” a world premiere play, opening on Friday night, Nov. 10.

This unique play was created by a veteran San Diego playwright and includes four separate mini-stories.

“It’s a new play written by a local playwright named James Caputo,” explained “Season of Love” director John Tessmer. “He has ingeniously wedded four different scenes together. They were all written independently and now he has connected them in a way that makes sense and should be interesting for the audience. So, it’s a four-act, or four-scene play, with characters running through them and reappearing in small ways.”

Call them scenes, acts or vignettes; they are essentially short stories for the theater.

“Some of the scenes have had what are called staged readings before, or in-house readings, but it’s never been done as a full production,” Tessmer said. “That is, of course, always with a new play, very challenging, but also very exciting to bring something to life for the first time; (something) that hasn’t really been tested.”   

Julie Clemmons and Paul Morgavo portray characters in one of the scenes from “The Season of Love.” (photo by Ken Jacques)

The script has another fascinating angle: The play is set on Christmas Eve, Dec. 24, 2016, which also happened to be the first day of Hanukkah last year. The first three scenes and the beginning of the fourth scene all take place on Christmas Eve. The fourth scene begins on Dec. 24 and eventually runs into Christmas morning.

The four scenes don’t have titles. The first scene involves a man looking for his internet date, and unintentionally meeting another woman instead.

“He has gotten his places confused and he encounters a stranger who was not part of the online dating scene,” Tessmer explained. “So, they start relating to each other and find out they have some things in common. It could be the blossoming of a relationship.”

The second scene is about two women of different generations who meet in a funeral home.

“That’s maybe not the happiest of times, but the fact that they meet each other is an uplifting thing,” Tessmer said.

While the two are not close in age, they bond nevertheless.

“They’ve never met before this encounter and 20 minutes later, they have become friends and connect,” he said.

The third scene involves a couple whose marriage is on the fritz. They meet in a restaurant to discuss the terms of their upcoming divorce as well as their rocky relationship.

“Will they be able to save it?” Tessmer asked. “Do they even want to save it? Is it worth saving?”

The final scene is about two homeless people, a man and a woman, and is set late on Christmas Eve. The scene transitions from Christmas Eve to the morning of Dec. 25. The two wake up in the same alleyway and, through destiny, they find a connection on Christmas morning. 

“The man is actually talking to the stars because he’s trying to talk to his dead wife,” Tessmer said. “He’s gone downhill since his wife has died. … He goes on quite a journey in this scene, of thinking that his life is pretty much over and then, ultimately, this other woman helps breathe new life into him.”

Seven actors bring this dynamic play together. They include Eric Poppick, Jill Drexler, Julie Clemmons, Paul Morgavo, Grace Delaney, Rhiannon McAfee and Sherri Allen.   

Tessmer has been an actor for most of his career and has done more directing in recent years. He grew up in San Diego and attended La Jolla Country Day School before going to Yale to earn his degree in Liberal Arts. Tessmer worked his way through an intense three-year program at the University of Wisconsin in Milwaukee to gain his Master of Fine Arts in Theater/Acting.

“The Season of Love” is scheduled to run Nov. 10 to Dec. 10 on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays in the Legler Benbough Theatre on the campus of Alliant International University, 9783 Avenue of Nations. Performance times are Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. Visit scrippsranchtheatre.org.

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