Friday, March 25, 2016

Brilliant 'Bucky' stimulates, moves on San Diego Rep's Lyceum stage

Actor Ron Campbell gives a brilliant performance as R. Buckminster Fuller
in "The History (and Mystery) of the Universe" at San Diego Repertory Theatre. 


The real Buckminster Fuller by his famous geodesic dome.
and courtesy San Diego Rep and Scatena Daniels

FASTEN YOUR seat belts, and prepare for a wild, wonderful ride.
You're aboard "Space Ship Bucky" for a thrilling time at the theater.
San Diego Repertory Theatre's current production about the life of R. Buckminster Fuller is exhilarating.  In fact, it is one of the best we've seen in our decade-plus of supporting the Rep, a jewel in our city's theatrical crown.
Cookie, top left, and niece Amarylla Ganner, San Francisco,
joined Atlantan Misha Minesinger, front left, Bruce Keller,
born in San Diego, and Olivia Cosgriffe, of Billings, Mont.
All five enjoyed the brilliant production by San Diego Rep.
A magnificent performance by Ron Campbell conveys the energy and intelligence of one of the 20th Century's great thinkers. The play is titled "R. Buckminster Fuller: The History (and Mystery) of the Universe." Don't miss it.
Our theater loving clan made the show a family affair. Five of us from four U.S. cities gave ten thumbs up to this stimulating, touching and thought-provoking production.
IN CONVERSATIONAL style -- making us yearn for more -- Campbell signs us on as his crew on “Spaceship Earth.” Together, we speed through the Universe with “captain Bucky” ever in command.
The life of this remarkable thinker offers a surprising and engaging journey which includes a confessional.  We learn that Bucky once drank heavily and even contemplated suicide.  As we travel with him, warts and all, we see his brilliance unfold and ripple -- resulting in an immediate standing ovation at our weekend performance.
Bucky was called “the Leonardo da Vinci of the 20th Century” and “PR Man to the Universe" and his unorthodox thinking is captured beautifully by the Rep's savvy co-founder, D. W. Jacobs, who wrote and directed the production. (And performs it from time to time.)
Ron Campbell's grace on stage brings
Buckminster Fuller to life. 
He and actor Campbell fully inhabit Fuller's wondrous mind and imagination, in a script laced with wit and passion. One moment we're laughing and the next wiping tears.
RENAISSANCE MAN -- engineer, architect, futurist, inventor, teacher, philosopher, environmentalist, poet -- Bucky even sings a few snippets as channeled by Campbell.  The actor rushes the tempos a bit, but having Bucky sing is a charming touch and shows the tender and sentimental side of a man who died in 1983, just shy of his 88th birthday.
Bucky was a truly global thinker, decades ahead of his time, warning us years ago that Spaceship Earth is in danger.
We understand his concerns because we're taught by a captivating teacher.  It's a pleasure to watch the graceful antics of Campbell as he explains Bucky's theories.
From his use of the triangle, to exploration of the spherical geometry Bucky explored, we learn that science can be transformed into art -- and that art can teach us science.
If you arrive early, sit by the Lyceum's mosaic wall and relax.
PRODIGIOUS research by writer Jacobs gives us a well rounded look at the life of this unlikely genius. We learn that crossed eyes and poor vision kept the young Fuller from seeing objects clearly. This may have encouraged Bucky's mental wanderings and fascination with nature, for he vividly recalled designs and patterns of the natural world, encountered in summers on Bear Island in Maine. (He was born in Massachusetts and died in Los Angeles.)
Humor and pathos pepper the script as we learn that Fuller graduated from Milton Academy in 1913, worked at a cotton mill and meat packing plant, attended Harvard University, traveled, explored, pondered, thought outside the box. He was expelled from Harvard, after he skipped an exam to date a New York show girl, using tuition money to treat her and her chorus line friends to dinner. He suffered the loss of a much loved daughter but enjoyed a long, loyal marriage. With each setback, Bucky got back on the horse -- to benefit humanity.
The work premiered at the Rep in 2000. Its return is held over through April 10, to give regional audiences a chance to see the brilliant Campbell. His mime skills and acting breadth shine through -- for he's been both a star clown for Cirque de Soliel and a leading classical actor of national repute.
Kudos to both Campbell and playwright Jacobs.

A pink chocolate slipper with truffles personifies the Langham's pink theme; the motif carries
through in Langhams internationally, here in Langham Hong Kong's delightful welcome gift.

UP NEXT: We recently discovered a hotel that elevates "five-star" to a new tier. This hotel truly goes beyond as we discovered in the wondrous Langham Hong Kong. But what makes a truly grand hotel? Fine, understated service, beautifully appointed public areas, luxurious bedding, artful private room furnishings and thoughtful amenities. Plus, in this case, an edible pink slipper filled with truffles.
So one can have her candy and eat it, too! This lovely hotel moves into our "ten best" lifetime list. Find out why next time at
Remember to explore, learn and live and catch us Fridays when we post for the weekend.


  1. Wonderful write-up of a wonderful production. Nice revisiting the performance through this lively review.

  2. San Francisco SeajournersMarch 26, 2016 at 8:51 AM

    We saw this marvelous piece in San Francisco. Sending our San Diego progeny! Delightful.

  3. Always fun to read about a challenging, well acted play -- and can't wait to "taste" the Langham delights. My what a slipper!

  4. Seattle sojournersApril 1, 2016 at 3:25 PM

    We actually delayed our departure back to Seattle to to see this play since we lived in one of the "Bucky domes" way back in the 1970s. Thrilling to be this close again to his genius -- inspired production and we found it here with "Cookie." Many thanks.

  5. Thanks for telling me about this play which I'd love to see. Reminds me of QED