Death and loss is a staple of theater drama and tragedy, of course, and the death of a child only ups the ante, even if it is not unfamiliar stage fare. It ought to be cause for automatic tearing up, but [David Lindsay] Abaire, director Kerri Rambow and an outstanding cast don’t let the audience wallow but make it almost painful, no-exit observers of how people deal or don’t deal with an unfathomable tragedy.
Susan Marie Rhea plays the wife in such understated fashion, a woman barely maintaining control over not just herself but everybody else, that she seems almost chilly. She’s lost among other things the qualities that you see shadow-like, warm intelligence, a coy flintiness, deep passions. Mark [Rhea’s] character, Howie, is exactly the opposite. He’s lost his confidence and assurance of a place in the world he created.
Becca’s mom Nat is an irascible, powerhouse presence and present. She is a reminder of another loss, the suicide of Becca’s brother years ago, a memory that’s like a strong irritant on an open wound for both. But she’s also obsessively tart and funny…
Linda High plays her like a forceful mess.”
Patrick Joy is almost awkwardly whimsical as the teenage boy, who, without real fault, caused the death of the child. Not so much as to make amends, he tries to provide a kind of cleansing and solace.