SAN DIEGO — They said it couldn't be done. But the oft-delayed Lyceum Theatre complex, rumored to be beneath downtown's Horton Plaza, has been delayed once more.
Staff members at the San Diego Repertory Theatre, which will be the principal tenant and manager of the Lyceum, are publicly sanguine but privately put out over at least the fourth delay of the project, which is managed by Centre City Development Corp. (CCDC)
"Quilters," the Rep's debut show in one of the two Lyceum theaters, has been pushed back another month. To fill the one-month gap in its schedule, the Rep artistic management huddled last week and was considering extending its current production of "To Gillian on Her 37th Birthday" or bringing back a play from last season. The first preview of "Quilters" is scheduled for May 23. That makes the opening almost a year later than originally announced.
So what happened this time? The official explanation is couched in wonderfully bureaucratic syntax--the "particular configuration of the below-ground facility and the logistical problems of installing a theater in a predetermined space" were part of the problem along with "unusual and often time-consuming solutions (which) had to be devised to accommodate the theater's special requirements."
That translates as: "We had trouble getting plasterers; there were delays when two contractors would show up at the same time on the loading dock, and the catwalk had to be redesigned," said David Allsbrook. Allsbrook is projects director for the CCDC.
He vowed that there will be no more delays. Any further postponements could cost the general contractor, J.A. Stewart, penalty fees. "I'm penalizing the contractor if he doesn't (meet deadlines)," Allsbrook said. With a penalty fee as high as $1,500 a day, Allsbrook said, "They are motivated to finish the job on schedule."
FURTHER FALLOUT: The arts group that stands to lose the most with the latest Lyceum delay may be Sushi, the performance and art gallery. Sushi was scheduled to inaugurate the smaller Lyceum Space theater with its annual Neofest in early May. Artists and performers from New York and elsewhere had been booked by Sushi director Lynn Schuette for the monthlong festival. Many of the festival performers planned to bring in larger acts, designed for the new Lyceum Space, because some of them are conceived on too large a scale to be performed at Sushi.
"We may have to move the whole festival to June," Schuette said. "I don't think the Rep's 6th Avenue Playhouse will be available in May. I will really be heartbroken if we can't open in the Lyceum."
FURTHER FEST: This is the year for Japanese films. The Ken Cinema just completed a monthlong festival of films by Akira Kurosawa. "Ran," Kurosawa's award-winning work, is at the Fine Arts, and a series of Japanese films at UC San Diego was announced earlier this month. Now San Diego State University has a series. Beginning Thursday, 10 films by such directors as Kurosawa, Ichikawa, Shinoda and Ozu will be screened free as part of a course given by the Japan Studies Institute. All but two of these 1950s and 1960s vintage movies will be seen at 7 p.m. Thursdays in Room 100 of the Social Sciences Building. These include "Woman of the Dunes," "Rashomon" and "Double Suicide." The exceptions include "Kagemusha," to be shown at 7:30 p.m. March 19 in the Casa Real, and "Ikiru," to be shown at 3:30 p.m. March 20 in Room 100 of the Social Sciences Building.
ARTBEATS: Spanish photographer Joan Fontcuberta will deliver a lecture and slide presentation entitled "Idas y Caos" at 7:30 p.m. Thursday at the Natural History Museum Auditorium in Balboa Park on trends in Spanish photography from 1920 to 1945. Sponsored by the Museum of Photographic Arts, Fontcuberta will discuss the work of 22 photographers. . . .
Trumpeter Alan Siebert, assistant principal trumpet with the San Diego Symphony, will take March off for a recital tour along the East Coast, from South Carolina to Vermont. One of the works he'll be playing is "Sonata in Fact," by local composer and tuba player Brent Dutton. . . .
Actor and director Eric Christmas will be leaving the UC San Diego drama department at the end of the semester. Christmas, who founded the department, will direct Shakespeare's "Merchant of Venice," which will be performed at 1 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. March 4 and 6 in the Warren Theatre on campus. . . . Once each year the La Jolla Art Assn. showcases the work of art students from a local show. From Feb. 25 through March 10, the gallery at 7917 Girard Ave. will be showing works by students from Muirlands Junior High School. The work includes some very well-executed animal figures.