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Experience the myth of serendipity in 'The Random World'


Last updated 3/4/2018 at 1:38am

Ocasionally. Well, no, not so very often. Yet, from time to time. Although, still hardly ever. And certainly not as frequently as one hopes. Ok, fine. The fact of the matter is rarely does one get the privilege to witness a production as fresh as "The Random World". Fresh as in "original qualities, unimpaired".

Prolific playwright Steven Dietz has been the voice of regional theatre for decades. Actually, not since Tennessee Williams has a writer been as fruitful as Dietz. Like his other works, "The Random World" is written for an intimate setting like North Coast Repertory Theatre in Solana Beach. With 36 seasons under their belt, North Coast Rep has its acting chops.

The story follows what happens when people speak but don't always communicate. We all do it. Just not as well as the characters in this show.

The cast effectively tells their separate stories through their non-verbal skills as well as the spoken word. Well, really it is called "acting". These guys all came to work on opening night.

One is reminded of the pleasantness of the calm spoken word. No shouting. Door slamming or any of those other stage tricks to support the dialogue. This script is brought to life by a cast of hand picked individuals that "get it".

What I like most about this performance is being called on my pre-conceived notion of an actor's performance ability by appearance alone. And I know better.

That said, the biggest surprise of the night is Kevin Hafso Koppman. He is unemployed, churlish and by appearance alone, personifies (the disappointment one might feel when dealing with) an underachieving brother. His performance as Tim Ward is brilliant! Remarkably real and worthy of recognition.

Playing across from him, (Lisel Gorell-Getz) is his over-achieving big sister, Beth. She is his antithesis. Her performance is perfection personified.

These two are so real you feel like you know them. And probably do. After meeting Tim, it comes as no surprise to discover the many charms of his x-girlfriend Claire. Tim recently broke up with her and why is just one of the unspoken questions. Diana Irvine as Claire is quirky in all of the right ways without trying to act quirky. It is easy to fall into that trap. You know arm flailing, ranting, stage-rage.

In this case, all of that nonsense is not required. Under the watchful eye of director David Ellenstein, no one sees anybody acting. And this is why you should go see this show in particular. No one is "acting".

The well-rounded cast includes a sparkly southern miss from Charleston, Ava Hill. She plays Rhonda who accepts as true in the spirit of the recently deceased. And, ya kinda have to believe her - she is that real. Rounding out the company is a charismatic fellow, Gary (Patrick Zeller) who meets Scottie in Nepal (?) on a mountain top. I believed it.

Two other plot-forward-moving characters include Bernadette (Yolanda Franklin) as the loyal caregiver for Tim and Beth's mother. Here is the catch, the audience won't get how hard it is to play the hired help. Ms. Franklin reveals her dignity while caring for Scottie Ward (Anne Gee Byrd) who refers to herself as a woman of a certain age who believes doubt is the unmarked door.

This play is reminiscent of the old saying that we are all just "six degrees of separation." The trick is how to find the connection between us. This experience might help you believe in lots of things.

"The Random World" is playing in Solana Beach at North Coast Theatre through March 18 at 987 Lomas Santa Fe Dr.- in the rear of the parking lot. Box Office 858.481.1055 or visit the website at 8+ out of 10.

You can contact Elizabeth Youngman-Westphal at


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