Copious Love presents “Cedar and the Redwoods”

“Cedar and the Redwoods” the first dramatic play by this one-year-old company deals with death . . . the death of a sister, the death of dreams, yet there’s a new life for the lead character, Cedar, well played by Reagan Dicky. The hallmark of the company is that it produces only original work, work that its members conceive and develop. They create modern plays tied in some way to Seattle. It’s an ambitious goal they set for themselves.

In this production, Cedar and her subconscious companions set off for home after learning that her sister has succumbed to the cancer she’s come so close to beating. Instead of travelling toward California on I-5, Cedar is encouraged to take the more circuitous Route 101 through the redwood forest. There among the towering trees she comes to terms with the demons that have been plaguing her for most of her adult life. In effect, she’s reborn.

The three other cast members in this production assume nine roles, playing her car companions, relatives, lover, teacher, and others. It’s understandable why a new company, probably operating on a shoestring, would want to cut down on the number of actors, but it’s a bit much to pull off. C0-Directors John Paul Sharp and Lucy Sarco have obviously guided the players to provide unique characterizations for each role. Despite this effort, it is sometimes confusing for the audience and too demanding for the actors.

The play, too, is a bit rough. Yet the concept is a good one, and with a little more work, it could be quite strong. The company didn’t start writing until September 2012, so we are seeing a very early iteration.

Production values are high. The company’s tech designer, Tony Gavilanes, achieves all sorts of miracles with limited resources. There’s a spectacular moonrise, a clever device to suggest the highway trip, and some fine lighting effects. Set designer Jessica Pickett has created a remarkably apt redwood forest. Kudos to both of them.

Warning: disregard information that suggests the play begins at 7:00. It starts at 7:30.

Through April 6 at Washington Hall, 153 14th Ave., Seattle (www.CopiousLove.org)

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