The Other Place hits close to home
By Geoff Rose, photo by Erik Zavala
The critically acclaimed play, The Other Place by Sharr White continues its successful run at Teatro Santa Ana this Wednesday through Sunday October 30-November 3. Produced by Stray Dog Presents, directed by Taylor Korobow, with a professional ensemble of actors, The Other Place is a provocative, entertaining and shattering piece of theater.
The Other Place
Wed, Oct 23 –Sun, Nov 3
Wed–Sat, 8pm; Sun, 5pm
Teatro Santa Ana
All seats, all performances 150 pesos
Juliana Smithton is a renowned scientist who has been studying the cause and effect of dementia throughout her illustrious career. Indeed, her work is responsible for a major breakthrough in the treatment of dementia. During a trip to St. Thomas in the Virgin Islands to make a presentation about her groundbreaking drug to a group of fellow scientists and doctors, she has a medical ‘episode’ and begins to experience a disconcerting series of events, including a reunion with her long-lost daughter and betrayal by Juliana’s husband, Ian, of the trust built between them over a 27-year marriage.
Told with ever-increasing mystery, momentum and suspense, this 75-minute play, presented without intermission, reveals a deep family secret shrouded in denial, regret, guilt and, finally, acceptance. Playwright Sharr White describes it this way; “It’s about the smartest woman on Earth, who discovers that nothing is what she thinks it is. It is a bit of a mystery in the way the play unfolds. It’s a story that’s told very closely through her perspective. It’s really about Juliana being a reliable narrator, and we stay with her as she begins to understand that her world is not what she thinks it is.” The New York Daily News said of the playwright, “He is a crack craftsman who knows how to hook an audience.”
Critics raved about the show when it opened. Variety wrote The Other Place is “a haunting drama, so cleverly constructed that the nature and depth of the conflict isn’t revealed until the last shattering scene.”
The Other Place stars Jill Gottlieb as Juliana Smithton in a tour de force performance. Jill is well-known to local audiences for the many memorable roles she’s played, including the high-strung matriarch Polly in last year’s Stray Dog Presents production of Other Desert Cities. She is supported by two veteran performers – Carrie Haugh from Other Desert Cities, God of Carnage, ‘night Mother and Don’t Dress for Dinner and Michael Gottlieb from, among many others, I Hate Hamlet and It’s a Wonderful Life. The show also features an original musical score by composer Alan Campbell, performed by cellist Guillermo Sanchez Romero, The Other Place Taylor Korobow, the creative force behind Stray Dog Presents and director of its productions, along with her partner Joseph Kent who creates the scenic design, always chooses powerful, taught, crackling drama to vent her theatrical urges. As Taylor says, “The Other Place is a profoundly interesting and complex story about a very successful, professional woman who is convinced she has a brain tumor. It’s a gripping, moving, often funny and very human play brought to life by three marvelous actors. It’s a 75-minute roller coaster ride. Buckle up.”