Props to San Diego Repertory Theatre for serving up something decidedly different: a fully interactive production titled Beachtown, in which audience members are more like attendees at a community council meeting than theatergoers. In this immersive conception by Herbert Siguenza and Rachel Grossman, “Beachtown” is a veiled name for San Diego, and the occasion of the meeting is the “100th Anniversary Time Capsule Day Ceremony.” Actors portraying Beachtown officials facilitate audience debate and voting of what should go into – and not go into – a commemorative time capsule.
Some of this is fun to be part of – like the spontaneous sing-along about the tuna industry of all things – but Beachtown never truly seems like theater. It’s a long game of participatory pretend. There should be more giddiness and less audience speechifying and tiresome counting of votes. (Review originally published in San Diego CityBeat on 4/4/18.)
David L. Coddon is a Southern California theater critic.