Sylvan Oswald has a resume that is unconventional, even by theatrical standards. He is certainly a playwright that embraces personal identity and challenges those who would try to define it for others. He also identifies as a transmasculine interdisciplinary artist who not only creates plays but also texts, publications, and videos. His latest work lands on the stage of Diversionary Theatre in the world premiere of “A Kind of Weather,” with previews starting Feb. 6. The play is described as “a hilarious, time-jumping, tragi-comedy exploring gender identity and its effect on family.”
August Forman (they/them/theirs) is a Chicago-based actor, playwright, and trans advocate who takes on the lead role of Kid. Kid’s grieving father shows up at his New York City doorstep and asks to move in. It’s an unexpected roommate situation that puts a cramp in Kid’s sex life and impedes the completion of a memoir about his gender transition. While he struggles to maintain professional commitments and a romantic life, his father, played by Diversionary veteran Andrew Oswald, entangles Kid’s narrative with surprising revelations about their family history. It’s a familiar theme for the playwright who once characterized his motivation in an interview with the online Undermain Blog with this statement, “I write plays to investigate what I don’t understand — emotional states, choices or catastrophes. And in families or with history, you can never really get the whole story of what happened or why someone acted the way they did. So, there’s lots to explore.”
Diversionary Executive Artistic Director Matt M. Morrow says, “The characters Sylvan creates are wholly unique and totally relatable. The way Sylvan weaves together his layered, complex story directly from their multiple points of view is a demonstration of a master writer working at the top of his game.” He reminds us that this new work is also a comedy. “The well-mined father-son trope resonates with a new clarity and emotional punch in this story of loss and new love found. Sylvan’s radically inventive and ambitious new play will keep you intellectually and emotionally engaged while tickling your funny bone.”
Bea Basso directs this production. She has a diverse background of experience that includes recently directing Marisela Treviño Orta’s “A Play About Something” at La Jolla Playhouse’s WOW Festival and curation of “Práctica,” an artist-driven platform across the Tijuana/San Diego border. “I am honored to help imagine Sylvan Oswald’s ‘A Kind of Weather’ in its incarnation at Diversionary,” she says, eluding to the significance of the play’s title, she continues, “[His] play imagines intimacy with oneself and with others as a shifting, subtle, overwhelming, and ever-changing ‘kind of weather.’ I look forward to sharing this world that switches theatrical modalities and moves curvaceously in time and space.”
The cast also includes Salomón Maya as Rick, making his Diversionary debut, Andréa Agosto as Rose, and Marci Anne Wuebben in the role of Janice. Wuebben was last seen on the Diversionary stage as Woman One in “The Loneliest Girl in the World” and as Lucinda in “The Mystery of Love and Sex.”
There are low-cost previews starting Feb. 6, with the official run Opening Night on Feb. 15. Performances continue through March 8, on Thursdays at 7 p.m., Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m., and Sundays at 2 p.m. Contact the box office at 619-220-0097.
M.G. Perez is founder of the San Diego Theatre Connection and creator of the Community OMG blog www.communityomg.tumblr.com. Follow on social media on Facebook and Instagram @sdtheatreconnection and on Twitter @TheSDTC.
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