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San Francisco by Richard Connema

An Interesting Production of Anna Ziegler's
Another Way Home

Also see Richard's review of Tommy Tune and Wesla Whitfield

Another Way Home
Kim Martin-Cotten (foreground) and Mark Pinter
Magic Theatre is presenting the world premiere of Anna Ziegler's shrewd new play Another Way Home through December 2nd. The drama is about Lillian (Kim Martin-Cotton), who was once a photographer, and Phillip (Mark Pinter), a successful businessman. The two were madly in love once and now have settled into a stressed intimacy in which there are many commonplace connubial confrontations. They are compelled to question everything they thought they understood about their son and daughter, their marriage, and their true desires.

Phillip and Lillian visit their son Joey (Daniel Petzold) at summer sleep away camp. Over the years, Joey has received diagnoses by doctors of ADHD to autism, and somehow the parents believe they are to blame. However, they have come to the camp hoping their kid is "normal," but the teen has not been taking his Ritalin and he is in deep depression. He is embarrassed that they are there for visiting day and he does not want to have anything to do with them. He is one angry guy. Joey has found a friend in Mike (Jeremy Kahn), who seems to have troubling issues of his own.

The playwright has attempted to do too much in such a short length of time with this thin script. However, the dialogue is engaging, with flashes of touching humor. All of the actors brilliantly perform their roles under the direction of Meredith McDonough.

Kim Martin-Cotten (New York Merchant of Venice with Al Pacino and national tour of August: Osage County) gives an outstanding performance as Lillian, fighting for her child. Her Lillian is fascinating in the nuanced dealings with husband Phillip and her kids. Mark Pinter is excellent as Philip, who cannot connect with his son. He brings out penetrating layers of anxiety and regret in Phillip.

Daniel Petzold (Any Given Day at the Magic and The Salt Plays at Shotgun Players) and Jeremy Kahn (Tigers Be Still at SF Playhouse) shine in their roles. Twenty-six-year-old Petzold successfully plays 17 years old on the small stage of the Magic in a charismatic performance. The mood swings, round shoulders, head bent forward and spontaneous verbal outbursts are astounding. Jeremy Kahn is impressive in the underwritten part of Mike. He gives a heartfelt performance, especially toward the end of the drama. Rounding out the cast is Riley Krull (The Underpants at Custom Made) as the 16-year-old daughter of Philip and Lillian. Her performance is first rate and she even sings Taylor Swift verses a cappella with remarkable accuracy and dynamism.

Annie Smart has designed a simple almost bare stage for the three-sided intimate theatre. She also designed the costumes, including smart dress for the parents. Meredith McDonough's direction is taut and fast paced. She also makes sure that all three sides of the audience can hear the dialogue clearly and keeps the actors moving about the small stage.

Another Way Home plays through December 2nd at Magic Theatre, Fort Mason Center, Building D, 3rd Floor, San Francisco. For tickets call 415-441-8822 or visit www.magictheatre.org.

- Richard Connema



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