Review: Time and the Conways

The Old Globe’s latest production examines the power of time and consequence


Published:

 

Photo by Jim Cox

Photo by Jim Cox

Time and the Conways is a story about family dysfunction and greed—and how the choices we make, good or bad, set us on an inevitable course toward our futures.

The play is set in 1919, on an evening of a great party for daughter Kay’s 21st birthday, in the Conway family’s regal household. But foreboding emotions lurk beneath the surface.

Halfway through Act I, we shift 18 years forward to the same room at the Conway family’s now not-so-regal household. With direction by Rebecca Taichman, the transition through time is done in an artful, haunting way.

In this future sequence, the audience sees what has become of the Conways: the squandered fortune, quarreling siblings, and bad marriages. It is a disheartening, depressing view.  

But just when all hope seems lost, we travel back to that original night of celebration in 1919. Act II cleverly answers a lot of the questions as to how the Conways arrive at their sad fates in 1937.

Kim Martin-Cotten plays the matriarch of this sorted lot. She delivers the role with great élan—very Mommy Dearest meets the Dowager Countess.

The play really shines in its shifts through the years: the hair and makeup changes, the costumes by David Israel Reynoso, and set design by Neil Patel. Also noteworthy is the way its actors change their movement, gaits, posture, and stances to show their changing ages and attitudes.

Playwright J. B. Priestley was born in England and served in the British Army before attending Cambridge in 1919. His play is set in between the two World Wars, when there was a prevailing hope of rebuilding and reinventing the world. One of the characters is a socialist. All of them are wealthy. Priestley had great insight into the British upper class, and employed many of the same themes that circulate in the popular PBS Show Downton Abbey

Are the Conways’ fates sealed? Is that look into the future an inescapable reality or a dream? There’s almost a hint that Kay, who is a writer, foresees the bad direction in which her family is headed and will have the wherewithal to make a change and set her clan on a different course. It's ultimately left for the audience to decide. And all that takes is… time.

 

March 29-May 4
Donald and Darlene Shiley Stage
Old Globe Theatre, Balboa Park
Tickets start at $29 

More »Related Stories

San Diego Pets Magazine Cover Search

San Diego Pets Magazine is seeking active San Diegans and their pets for a feature in our winter issue

This Month in Lists

A few handy lists to help you find the best of the best from the September issue

Get the Picture?

Theaters are missing a big opportunity by holding out on social media

Subscribe to the Blog

 


Cityfiles

Local News Updates And Things To Do In San Diego

About This Blog

San Diego Magazine's editorial staff (Erin Chambers Smith + Erin Meanley + Kimberly Cunningham + a handful of smart, thoughtful contributors)  and web designer (Sanna Coates) blog everything from restaurants and bars to behind the scenes gossip to the best events happening this weekend. Looking for foodie and restaurant guru Troy Johnson? He's got his own blog here.

Recent Posts

Archives

Feed

Atom Feed Subscribe to the Cityfiles Feed »

Most Popular

  1. Secret San Diego
    Psst! You didn’t hear it from us, but this town has all kinds of "hidden gems" (yes, we said it). And we’re not talking ghost stories at the Hotel Del.
  2. The Best of Ensenada
  3. Culture and Cocktails Goes Nautical July 10th
    Seafaring photo booths, locally-sourced, Ballast Point Cocktails, a not-to-miss summer exhibition...interested yet?
  4. The Ultimate Fourth of July Guide
    Festivals, food, and fireworks—the essential combination for celebrating Independence Day in San Diego. Here’s what’s happening around town this weekend.
  5. Best of San Diego: Food & Drink
  6. INCOMING: Indigo Grill, Part Deux
    Indigo Grill's reinvention includes lots of light, "Flaming Hot Cheetos"