The Real Deal

That's hardly the stuff of romance and legend. But there's something so Orange County about our desperate attempt to root ourselves in history. It's why streets in this town have been given salty names like Windlass, Caspian and Binnacle. It's why our airport is named after a guy who may have had a home here, but whose real legacy is that he got tanked in a few bars by the beach. It's why we have these wonderful place names but so few of the wonderful places in them—no groves of gardens, no valleys of fountains. The very name Orange County has become ironic.

And that's why a play like Two Years Before the Mast—a simple, relatively harmless piece of living history that relates how things truly were once upon a time—is so valuable. There's no pretense, no illusion here, nothing but the facts as one man reported them years ago. It's not romance; it's reality—something in short supply in this corner of the desert.

TWO YEARS BEFORE THE MAST at the Ocean Institute, 24200 Dana Point Harbor Dr., Dana Point, (949) 496-2274. Fri.-Sat., 6:30 & 8:30 p.m. Through Aug. 19. $20.

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