Review: The Other Place at Capital Stage

The Other Place

This is your brain on drugs—no, wait, this is just a brain.

This is your brain on drugs—no, wait, this is just a brain.

Photo courtesy of Charr Crail Photography

Showtimes: Wed 7pm, Thu 7pm, Fri 8pm, Sat 2pm & 8pm, Sun 2pm. Through 6/2; $25-$42; Capital Stage, 2215 J St., (916) 995-5464,
Rated 5.0

The Other Place, now at Capital Stage, is a humorous, yet intense play written by Sharr White and directed by Michael Stevenson.

Juliana Smithson is a brilliant scientist whose life is about to change. After years of research, she’s on the edge of the true success that she’s been striving for in her male-dominated field. But, just as she’s about to reach the pinnacle, she begins to receive mysterious phone calls from her estranged daughter.

It may be a bit confusing at first, as the action skips back and forth between the present and the past, sometimes with little warning. It’s halfway through the play before we realize what’s really happening.

Melinda Parrett is brilliant as Juliana, at first self-assured and holding her own with her peers, before quietly falling apart; the helplessness of her expression is heartbreaking.

Jonathan Rhys Williams is wonderful as Ian—is he a philanderer or a loving, yet tortured husband?

Jennifer Martin and Kirk Blackinton round out the cast, each playing several minor roles. Martin is particularly memorable as the stranger surprised to find Juliana in her house—at first afraid, then sympathetic, responding warmly to Juliana’s needs.

Scenic projections by Timothy McNamara show off locations through several windows across the stage.

The 90-minute play is thought-provoking and heart-tugging, and may leave the audience encouraged not to let special moments in their lives simply go by.