“The End of It” Review

By Kira Elliott, Staff Writer

Walking into the theater lobby to see alumni play “The End of It”, a feeling of slight embarrassment washed over me. I had to be the youngest person there, and I desperately began scanning the laugh-lined faces for someone under 30 years old. Since it was a benefit for the San Dieguito Theater Arts Program, there were a couple of tables set out with food from The Tavern, a local Encinitas restaurant. I checked in, grabbed a brownie, and went to find my seat.

As we filed into the theater, I also began to wonder what the “mature content” in the play was, and what it meant to be mature. Existential ponderings aside, I settled into my seat, waiting for the script-reading of “The End of It.” The two act play was written by SDA alumni, Paul Coates, and performed by six SDA alumni including Mary Jeffries (class of ’71), Bill Barker(class of ’73), Mike Ball (class of ’75), Sharon Corbett-Parry (class of ’78), Leslie Swartz-Bartlett (class of ’83), and Coates himself (class of ’76).

“The End of It” was, in the simplest terms, amazingly written and performed. There were three married couples, all in the same situation. The first couple (Drew and Joanna) was straight, the second (Andrew and Joe) were gay, and Dee and Jo were lesbian. They had just had a dinner party, and Drew, Andrew, and Dee were about to leave for a week-long business trip to London. All three of the couples had been married for 20 years and had no children… but within seconds, what seemed like a solid marriage was crumbling before our eyes.

It was explosive, it was funny, it was sad, and it was real. While watching, some of the audience members who had gone through similarly traumatic break-ups paled visibly, and the couples “began leaning away from each other,” according to Justin Santana, senior and narrator of the play. With each twist and turn, the audience was pulled in, some near tears, wondering if it was going to work out alright. What really brought the play to life was the realistic dialogue. There was nothing stilted or awkward about any of it. I talked to Coates after the play, and he said, “[When writing the play] I listened to people and how they talked to create the dialogue.”

“The End of It” is just the beginning. “I actually wrote three plays: ‘The End of It’, ‘The Middle of It’, and ‘The Beginning of It’,” said Coates, who has written a total of 14 plays in his lifetime. “[‘The End of It’] is about communication and how important it is in a relationship,” he said simply. “[The three plays] are about [losing and finding] love.”

For such a relatively short play, “The End of It” stole the audience’s hearts as well as any previous hopes that marriages always work out for that matter, and made us understand the power of communication in a relationship. The dialogue was beautifully written and really brought to life by the talented actors.