The loss of community and its recovery are the main themes of Circle Circle dot dot’s “No Place Like Home,” written and directed by Andrew Steele and company member Soroya Rowley.
C2d2’s mission of presenting community-based plays took them to housing projects for the homeless in San Diego, where interviews with people who have lived on the streets inspired Soroya Rowley and Andrew Steele to write “No Place Like Home.” Rowley and Steele also direct the ambitious piece – a musical, playing through June 7 at the Ocean Beach Playhouse.
The plot revolves around 19-year-old cerebral palsy victim Daisy (Katie Harroff), so on the outs with censorious stepmother Linda (Stacey Hardke) that one day she returns from work to find the lock changed and her belongings on the lawn.
She sleeps on the grass, singing “If our lord is a merciful one, what would God say to you leaving me in the cold, broken and all alone?
The next day, she heads for the streets of downtown San Diego, where she finds kindness (and parental surrogates) in street people Gabe (Patrick Kelly) and Mary (Taylor Wycoff). Mary and Daisy sing “Broken.”
They all line up to try to get into the local shelter, but there’s no room on the women’s side and Gabe won’t leave Mary. They sing the nice, bluesy “Homeless Blues” (by Rowley, Steele and Kelly): “I’ve been waiting her since dawn/and the man don’t call my name.”
Daisy also meets the sleazier side of life – a creepy man who thinks (or hopes) she’s a hooker and offers to pay for sexual services.
A handsome young blond named Chris (Jon Huckaby) gives her the bum’s rush, but is so attractive (and she so desperate for connection) that she agrees to a road trip to Cape Cod, where he says he wants to introduce her to his “rich” family.
Daisy and Chris go off on the road trip, which predictably doesn’t go exactly as Daisy had planned, despite Steele’s lovely escapist song “Where Are We? (“Where are we? I don’t care/Brilliant star in the night air.”)
Daisy has to swallow her pride and call her mother for the plane fare back to San Diego, where she will reconnect with Gabe and Mary and perhaps get into a new housing situation. They all decide there is “No Place Like Home.”
The script is credible, the acting excellent, the songs of varying quality, the situations uncomfortable but important to talk about.
“No Place Like Home” points up the pitfalls of living on the street – less-than-nice people who want to take from you, cops who may hassle you, the difficulty of finding a place in a shelter or food. But mainly, it’s the aloneness and the feeling that no one cares.
When will society find a way to eliminate these problems?
Circle Circle dot dot’s “No Place Like Home” plays through June 7 at The Ocean Beach Playhouse, 4944 Newport Ave. in Ocean Beach.
Thursday through Saturday at 8 pm; Sunday at 4 pm.
To read more reviews by SDGLN Theater Critic Jean Lowerison, click HERE.