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Travel Costa Mesa Blog

A Brief Affair with the South Coast Reperatory

Posted on April 23, 2009 | 9:00am | Travel Costa Mesa

There’s a bizarre sense of innate realism that accompanies a work centered on the comfortably awkward relationship between a mom and her kids.  Richard Greenberg’s “Our Mother’s Brief Affair” acknowledges this, as the title alone suggests.

Trickled in this family drama about a dying mother presenting the story of an affair she had years ago to her two now-grown children is unique bouts of humor, both present in the content itself as well as in the manageable portrayal of the struggling, realistic characters.

The show is small, with only four actors present and a single, unchanging set.  Though each of the four actors hold their own and offer extremely convincing performances, Jenny O’Hara’s portrayal of Anna, the mother, arguably steals the spotlight.  The depiction of her character’s genuine naivety produces both sympathy and discontent (though that may be too harsh a term).

The narrative is conveyed straightforwadly at times, as well as in flashback-form.  Sometimes these two deliveries are independent of the other, while sometimes they’re intertwined.  The fact that this maneuver works well and doesn’t get confusing speaks volumes of the writing, set-direction and abilities of the actors.

Don’t miss Our Mother’s Brief Affair at South Coast Repertory through May 3.