Other Desert Cities

Other Desert Cities

Out of Box Theatre

through September 26, 2015

Jon Robin Baitz penned this opus about your-not-so-average family living in California near the I-10. We all have secrets, and most of us have somebody in our family who might be deemed a piece-of-work, for lack of a more professional term. Well, . . . they all come together in his work, which premiered just 4 years ago and generated mixed reviews; albeit was nominated for several Tony’s and won a Pulitzer for drama.

Unlike some of the other works playing around town, the drama in this one is not so dark and foreboding. Lyman Wyeth (Rial Ellsworth) is a former actor who became an Ambassador then a politician. Kind of recalls another gent from the West Coast. His wife, Polly (Carolyn Choe) is VERY protective of the family name and constantly aware that they live in the public media.

The holidaze are coming and the house is decorated with stockings hung by the chimney and all that sort of stuff, and Turkey Day is upon us. Their daughter, Brooke (Amanda Cucher) has come to visit and has been writing a new book. One slight problem. It is her memoir, and some of the things she recalls the parents wish she would forget, and therein lies the plot. Her brother, Trip (Matthew Busch) is home for the chow-down as well. He’s a TV producer of some show that Brooke doesn’t dig; but what does it matter? He’s reasonable, talented and making a living in a difficult field.

Their Aunt Silda (Rose Bianco) is also there, and she has her own problems such as alcohol. But, maybe that actually helps her deal more easily with the rest of the family. For there was a third sibling who allegedly committed a dastardly deed and then committed suicide. The real facts of the story may be somewhat buried in lies. Lies which might be embarrassing for the parents to deal with right now. And who knows the bottom line to the story? Silda does, and was the one who spilled the beans to Brooke. And there seems to be a time constraint, since Brooke has a publication deal which includes a preview hit the streets in just a few months.

There’s humor in the background of the family, their travel from the local deli to the local Country Club crowd, and the characters of the members. There’s pathos in the history of our nation and the business of wars for so many years, and the losses experienced by so many families. And you can travel the road with this gang to see how things get resolved.

Kirk Harris Seaman directed, and for a small local theatre, I must say that they have done a very fine job, with a very good script, which deserves a much bigger house and longer run. You will sit there thinking that you know some of these people, and wondering how you might handle their problems.

Out of Box is located on Cobb Parkway about a mile south of the Big Chicken. For times and tickets visit them at OutOfBoxTheatre.com