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THEATER REVIEW: “San Diego, I Love You” is a “romantic walking tour”

Remember that awkward morning after when you and your, er, friend found you had differing opinions about the desirability of another date?

Or that other time when you got summarily dumped by a guy who – well, he may not have been the perfect match, but geez, you got dumped?

CircleCircledotdot, that scrappy little theater that specializes in telling local stories, offers a romantic walking tour of some of those difficult interpersonal exchanges in its locally written “San Diego, I Love You,” running through Feb. 17 in Hillcrest.

Several company members and friends got together over wine and discussed some of their most awkward moments in the relationship game. Then Katherine Harroff and Soroya Rowley got together and wrote this script.

The show begins at Jake’s Wine Bar on Sixth Avenue in Hillcrest, where you can pick up a drink before your guide (in my case, Soroya Rowley) spirits you off to witness five interludes in disparate locations such as Bluestocking Books, the Brass Rail gay bar and Pappalecco’s coffee bar. The scenes play out here, in full view of theatergoers and sometimes other miscellaneous patrons as well.

Let's face it, theater is an intrusive art form. Watching characters bare their psyches, play out their fantasies, work out their frustrations, argue and fight and make love is a bit like spying on them – but from a safe distance.

Here, within three to five feet of the actors, following them as they move, moving closer at will to hear or see better, you get a whole different perspective.

Most stories have characters named Chris and Alex who have been brought together by the human need for communication. Some couples are straight, others gay – and we get to watch them confront their specific relationship obstacles.

The stories are often funny, usually familiar, always engaging. My favorite is the encounter between the mismatched Alex (Delia Knight) and Sam (Jon Huckaby), deciding whether to stay together or split.

Site-specific theater is becoming almost traditional here. La Jolla Playhouse is about to enter the third year of its “WOW” (without walls) series of short plays in non-theatrical locations.

Likewise, a few years ago CircleCircledotdot contributed a piece that was performed along with San Diego Dance Theatre’s “Trolley Dances.”

The “San Diego, I Love You” tour lasts about 75 minutes and takes a maximum of 10 “voyeurs” each. But there are only four performance dates left, so get your tickets now.

The details

“San Diego, I Love You” plays through Feb. 17 and begins at Jakes on 6th Wine Bar, 3755 6th Ave. in Hillcrest.

Feb. 9, 10, 16, and 17 at 1, 1:30, 2, 2:30, 3 and 3:30 pm.

For tickets: click HERE.

To read more reviews by SDGLN Theater Critic Jean Lowerison, click HERE.

Photo captions

Rich Soublet took all the photographs that accompany this theater review.

Top left: Kathryn Byrd (left) and Whitney Shay

Middle left: Laura Kaplan-Nieto and Michael Nieto (who are married in real life)

Bottom left: Brian Burke and Katherine Harroff