Three Ways of Looking at a Break-Up

Emma Fisher’s new drama is as straightforward as a relationship, which is to say not very straightforward at all, especially beneath the surface. In a setup reminiscent of Akira Kurosawa’s famous film <a href= “http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0042876/” Rashomon , which presents the story of a crime from different points of view, the events of Diving in December are told three times over, from the perspective of each participant in a youthful love triangle. It’s an interesting approach, but most of the scenes are overlong, giving the play a bloated, sluggish feel even though the acting is generally on point. The unconventional triangle consists of a lesbian couple, Georgie and Max, plus Austin, Georgie’s best guy friend from college (portrayed with endearing awkwardness by Patrick Shaw). He’s an aspiring chef. Max works as a sommelier in her family’s restaurant. Georgie, on the other hand, is enrolled in Stanford’s mathematics Ph.D. program. As one of only two female students, the pressure to prove herself by proving a difficult theorem is eating Georgie alive and creating great friction with Max. Lillian Meredith has just the right mixture of confidence and anxiety to play Georgie, while Kymberlie Stansell has a pitch-perfect take on Max’s haughty, demanding personality.

Since Georgie has little time for her and is always hopped up on Adderall, Max begins to hang out more with Austin, who has been nursing a crush on her. Tensions come to a head one night when Max can no longer take Georgie’s insensitivity and inattention and runs into Austin’s arms. Then she leaves for good, an event the audience has seen coming since the play's beginning, as it opens with Georgie reading Max’s farewell letter.

If a viewer fails to read the advance materials about the show, it will take some time to figure out how the play's structure works because of how long it takes for each segment to play out. To be effective, the multiple vantage approach requires crisp, quick takes, and the plot of Diving in December would have lost nothing with some strategic deletions. The dialogue, in particular, tends to drift. Fisher’s writing has definite potential, and the well-chosen cast helps to enliven the production, but it’s not a quality play yet and would benefit from further development.

Print Friendly and PDF