The Dogwoods are a family living in suburban Milwaukee. Dad is retired and spends most of the day in a fog watching his "programs," while Mom flutters around pretending everything is OK. Daughter Evelyn lives just down the street and has put her own life on hold to take care of her parents (or is she using them as an excuse not to live a fuller life?). Rachel and Nathaniel have moved away, and their trips home are becoming fewer and farther between. They all congregate at the family home for Dad's favorite holiday, Independence Day. Rachel brings her assistant instead of her husband, and Nat arrives without his much talked about but never seen fiance. Secrets come out and old grievances come back around as this not-so-happy family finds themselves under the same roof again. After the holiday is over, not much has changed, except perhaps a better awareness of the situation.
|James Napoleon Stone, Katherine Preble, and Angela Walberg|
as the Dogwood siblings
The new-to-me venue is The People's Center Theater. It's a nice intimate space on the third floor of the People's Center Health Services' Cedar Riverside Clinic. The set looks like a typical lived-in Midwestern home, with blankets on the couch and tchotchkes on the shelf. At one point during a heated scene the table broke, and the cast dealt with it so well I thought it was part of the script.
Dogwood is a compelling and entertaining dark family drama. If, like me, you're unfamiliar with Candid Theater, check it out to take a chance on something new (discount tickets available on Goldstar).