Warning: session_start() [function.session-start]: Cannot send session cookie - headers already sent by (output started at /home/content/38/2135738/html/_artsstage-seattlerage/index.php:1) in /home/content/38/2135738/html/_artsstage-seattlerage/wp-content/plugins/custom-contact-forms/classes/class-ccf-form-handler.php on line 587

Warning: session_start() [function.session-start]: Cannot send session cache limiter - headers already sent (output started at /home/content/38/2135738/html/_artsstage-seattlerage/index.php:1) in /home/content/38/2135738/html/_artsstage-seattlerage/wp-content/plugins/custom-contact-forms/classes/class-ccf-form-handler.php on line 587
“Other Desert Cities” at ACT | Arts Stage – Seattle Rage

“Other Desert Cities” at ACT

Not so happy Christmas holidays for the Wyeth family! Daughter Brooke comes to her parents’ oh so lux Palm Springs home with a present that will tear apart her touched-with-gold family. She’s written a memoir, and included within it the tragic story of her brother’s involvement with a radical underground group in the 1970s and his subsequent suicide. Reliving the horror is bad enough, but the Wyeth parents are devoted Republicans, so truehearted that Mr. was appointed to an ambassadorship by Ronald Reagan. What will their friends say?

The play, nominated for a Pulitzer last year, is Jon Robin Baitz’ finest so far. It’s a five-character tour de force with the very best lines going to the three women. And ACT’s females do justice to every word. Pamela Reed as Mommy Dearest spews caustic remarks, sprinkling them like rat poison throughout the play. Lori Larsen as her live-in, alcoholic sister waivers between kooky and competent, often the most levelheaded person in the room. And Marya Sea Kaminski as Brooke weaves precariously between her love for her parents and her despair at their apparent self-protective demands to stop publication. Watch the faces of these three. The eyes, the frowns, the sneers speak volumes.

The family is being ripped apart; old wounds are gnawed open. Director Victor Pappas has meticulously staged this work to draw every nuance from the script. In addition to the powerful story, that explosive script is lush with quotable lines and dusted with humor.

The family clashes mirror the societal clash between liberals and conservatives, yet the politics never overwhelms the personal. And it’s that personal anguish that hits you right in the core. Which of us has a family where all goes well, where we always meet the needs of our loved ones, where our hearts never break?

And which of our families doesn’t have secrets. There’s a big one in the Wyeth household.

Through June 30 at ACT, 700 Union St., Seattle, (206 292-7676 or www.acttheatre.org)

Leave a Reply