The previous 2013-2015 installments of Circle Circle dot dot’s (CCdd) site-specific series,San Diego, I Love You, were presented right before Valentine’s Day. Given that the latest comedy is about a breakup, it makes sense that the play premiered after the holiday.
San Diego, I Love You (I Love You Not) features a couple with conflicting opinions when it comes to relationships. Jamie wants to be with a life partner, but his girlfriend, Riley, has commitment issues. After the two of them split up, Jamie and Riley realize they have complicated and unresolved feelings about their history together.
Three different casts rotate to play the characters who appear to be deeply in love for one second and incompatible the next. During the first performance, David Ryan Gutierrez and CCdd “costume mistress,” Kristin McReddie, captured the conflicting emotions that each has for the other.
When arriving at the Electric Hair Salon in Ocean Beach, audiences get to decide whether to follow Jamie or Riley. Jamie’s story is more comedic due to his conversations with an attractive older woman, Bea (CCdd board member, Kathy Hope, is in every performance of Jamie’s tale), and his gay “Star Wars” loving friend, Knox (Brandon Potter in the opening performance). Jamie’s buddy is used as comic relief when he converses with Jamie. Yet, his personal life is explored a little bit more when having a bite to eat with Riley.
Katherine Harroff’s (artistic director of CCdd) writing lightens Jamie’s situation, without ignoring the heartache that Riley has caused him.
His odyssey involves drinking alcohol, which audiences are allowed to buy in two of the scenes. Anyone younger than 21 years-of-age has to join Riley on her adventure.
Many people will likely relate personally with Jamie since he feels strongly about true love, but Riley’s sequences are the ones that are slightly more intriguing. She comes across as caring yet cynical in the introduction, but grows quite a bit as a person. As she starts to think more about Jamie, the thirty-something year old San Diegan becomes touchingly vulnerable.
In addition to purchasing a ticket, only an additional $5 donation is needed to see both versions of San Diego, I Love You (I Love You Not). Watching the parallel plots unfold allows more insight into the major characters.
Another plus of seeing San Diego, I Love You (I Love You Not) twice is getting to see more areas of the beach.
Directors Soroya Rowley (outreach coordinator of CCdd) and Crystal Brandon (CCdd production assistant) appear to have worked very hard in making the beachfront neighborhood a big stage. Different locations such as Jungle Java, Pacific Shores and Shades Oceanfront Bistro are used pretty seamlessly throughout the surreal experience.
Be sure to think about whether Jamie and Riley should end up together, because the ending gives everyone a chance to vote on the outcome of the former couple. Instead of being simple resolutions, both endings smartly deepen the central characters in unexpected ways.
While not as romantic as previous chapters of San Diego, I Love You, the journey works as a thoroughly engrossing look into splitsville. Bring walking shoes and be prepared for an exciting day in OB.