As director Ken Watt describes it, Summertime comes off like “free-flowing jazz riffs on love and passion,” although it's the messy, inconsistent passion of ordinary relationships rather than the epic romance of the movies. As he did in previous works like Another Person Is a Foreign Country, acclaimed playwright Charles Mee Jr. looks at conditional love, pitting rational thought against the irrationality of desire, complicated by common notions of beauty, power, and normalcy. Summertime is a montage of characters and scenes that transpires in and around a garden, which serves as a metaphoric dividing line between the haves and the have-nots who keep interrupting them; eventually, a universal hunger for human interaction breaks down their social and symbolic barriers. Mee, disabled by polio as a youth, has written some of his own experiences with marginality into the script, and Watt, whose Fifth Floor ensemble staged Mee's adaptation of Orestes, will direct the show with Fifth Floor members as well as actors from the disabled community, including David Roche (whose solo show Church of 80 Percent Sincerity touched on similar themes). Summertime, presented as a work in progress, is being considered for the Magic Theater's upcoming season. It opens at 8 p.m. Wednesday (and runs through Sunday) at the Magic's Northside Theater, Building D, Fort Mason, Marina & Buchanan, S.F. Admission is $8-15; call 441-8822.
— Heather Wisner