San Diego playwright chooses Cygnet Theatre for world premiere of ‘The Tragedy of the Commons’

By Diana Saenger


Stage, screen and TV writer Stephen Metcalfe brings both humor and harsh reality to the Cygnet Theatre stage with the world premiere of his play “The Tragedy Of The Commons.”

The fine cast, directed by Cygnet’s artistic director Sean Murray, presents a tale with a San Diego “hook,” that is fresh and absorbing.

A homey Adams clan livingroom scene launches the journey into this complex family. Dakin (Jim Winker) and Macy (Veronica Murphy) are empty nesters but the Golden Years have not yet arrived. Dakin, seriously missing his days as a teacher, spends his time on the computer sending out random blogs he calls “Notes from Zone 10.”

Francis Gercke, Jim Winker and Veronica Murphy appear in ‘The Tragedy Of The Commons’ at Cygnet Theatre. Photo: Daren Scott

Although the couple’s sons Spencer (Francis Gercke) and Alan (Manny Fernandes) admonish Dakin with claims that no one cares about his thoughts on the genetic makeup of a spider or world situations, he continues to write and hit the send button.

Meanwhile, mother Macy is getting plenty of exercise because every time she tries to reason Dakin back into the real world, they end up in a stalemate and she takes the dogs for a walk.

It’s only when their neighbor Carl (Tim West) announces he and his wife are selling their home that Dakin comes energetically alive.

Dakin suddenly understands that his treasured view of the beach directly above Carl’s house could disappear if a new owner decides to build up.

And that’s exactly what happens when new neighbor Diane (Monique Gaffney) shows up with a cheap bottle of wine for Dakin. Even the un-chilled wine is no match for the cold-hearted stern investor who tells Dakin she is indeed going to rebuild and block his view.

But the prickly predicament reveals that Dakin and Macy have far bigger issues between them.

Metcalfe, who brought humor to his adaptation of “Pretty Woman,” nailed difficult family relationships in “Jacknife” with Robert De Niro and Ed Harris, and then dove into complex character interactions in the Old Globe’s “Loves and Hours,” continues his magic in “The Tragedy of the Commons.” The show shines from Metcalfe’s ability to make an audience laugh, think, and be surprised. Just when you think you know where it’s heading, the story goes deeper and takes unexpected turns.

If you go

What: “The Tragedy of the Commons”

When: 7:30 p.m. Wednesdays, Thursdays; 8 p.m. Fridays; 4 and 8 p.m. Saturdays; 2 and 7 p.m. Sundays through Feb. 20

Where: Cygnet Theatre Company, Old Town Stage,

4040 Twiggs St, San Diego

Tickets: $24-$49

Contact: (619) 337-1525,

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Posted by Susan DeMaggio on Feb 1, 2011. Filed under A & E, Theater. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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