January 1, 2020, marks the start of a new decade. Looking back, I notice that I have been reviewing theatre in San Diego for more than ten years. It seems appropriate to consult what I’ve written and see, what has changed about San Diego theatre. So, instead of summarizing 2019, I’m returning to 2010 and working my way forward to the present.

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Audience and authorial tastes are changing all the time, and that’s why a Moliere adaptation (amid its originator’s bawdy humor) might not catch up in one fell swoop. Nonetheless, San Diego Repertory Theatre’s ‘Manifest Destinitis’ is a lot of fun as it looks at a core premise of 19th-century American expansionism.

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If you remember the 1960s (some of us don’t, after all), you’ll remember Abbie Hoffman, a leader in counterculture thought — and with its world-premiere ‘Steal Heaven,’ San Diego Repertory Theatre has not only drawn a good bead on Hoffman but the importance of dissension’s very place in the American experience.

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San Diego Repertory Theatre is giving “In the Time of the Butterflies,” the story of four sisters’ valiant fight against Dominican Republic strongman Rafael Trujillo’s bloody regime, its English-language world premiere through Jan. 26. Curiously, the entry is missing a lot about its flesh-and-blood antagonist — but a highly developed culture of ensemble carries the performances in this commendable piece about a brutal reign the West can’t afford to forget.

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