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Arts & Culture

North County Theater Takes On Assisted Suicide, Medical Marijuana

Actors Maggie Carney, Tom Stephenson, DeAnna Driscoll and Jeffrey Jones play two couples dealing with tragedy in "The Quality of Life," a drama at Intrepid Theatre Company.
Actors Maggie Carney, Tom Stephenson, DeAnna Driscoll and Jeffrey Jones play two couples dealing with tragedy in "The Quality of Life," a drama at Intrepid Theatre Company.

Medical marijuana, religion, wildfires, loss of a child — those are just some of the issues explored in the play "The Quality of Life," which opens July Fourth weekend at Intrepid Theatre Company's temporary home in Carlsbad.

But it's the issue of assisted suicide that drives many of the play's questions.

"It’s simple to say there’s a right and a wrong, but when you take one more step into the issue, it becomes very much a gray area," said director Christy Yael-Cox.

She's also the CEO and producing artistic director of the theater company she founded with her husband, Sean Cox.

When the couple chose to stage the play after seeing a production in San Francisco, they had no idea it would have some immediate resonance, with Senate Bill 128 currently making its way through the state legislature. The bill would legalize physician-assisted suicide in California.

"The Quality of Life" follows two very different couples meeting up in Northern California after major life traumas.

One is a conservative religious couple from the Midwest. The other, hippie spiritualists, have lost their home in a wildfire and are living in a yurt. Values and world perspectives clash, but not without establishing common ground.

The play was written by Jane Anderson, who has won Emmy Awards for her television writing and wrote for the critically-acclaimed AMC show "Mad Men."

Despite all the serious topics, Yael-Cox said the drama is not a downer.

"Believe it or not, it’s an incredibly funny play in the most beautiful way because Jane Anderson explores how human we are in crisis," Yael-Cox said.

Intrepid is currently in lease negotiations to build a permanent home and theater space in Encinitas.

"The Quality of Life" opens July 3 and runs through Aug. 2 at Intrepid's temporary space at the Carlsbad Village Theatre in Carlsbad.