Absalom: Family Ties

absalomEpic Theatre Company’s production of Absalom, from playwright Zoe Kazan, features a batch of first-rate performances. The show opened May 1 and runs until the 17th.

In 1986, the Weber family has gathered at the country estate of patriarch Saul (Eric Behr), who is celebrating the publication of his tell-all book. Adam (Rudy Sanda) is the hard-drinking son who has written a successful novel but has been suffering from writer’s block and cancer. Teddy (Nathanael Lee) is a book editor married to Julia (Lauren Odenwalder). Their sister Sophia (Emily Lewis) has devoted her life to caring for Saul following their mother’s death. Saul is a cold-hearted misogynist who has plenty of skeletons in his closet. Meanwhile, Cole Maddox (Bobby Casey), a highly successful television writer with an axe to grind, arrives as an unexpected party guest and stirs up long-simmering resentments. Cole was a foster child who was adopted by the Webers but has since fallen out of favor with Saul.

“This isn’t a family,” Adam notes. “It’s a pack of wolves.”

Director Tom Chace has done a marvelous job of bringing the drama to life. The performances are all convincing, but Casey is the real standout here. Cole is a fascinating character. He can be charming one moment and forlorn the next. His relationship with Saul is deeply textured and leads to a poignant moment at the play’s climax.

Absalom could have been merely another tale of a dysfunctional family, but Kazan’s writing elevates it to something a bit more. The Webers all are asked to prove their love to each other in various ways, which sometimes ends up causing a lot of emotional damage.

Absalom succeeds at what it sets out to do, which is to wrap up audiences in the crazy world of the Webers. It is a journey you won’t soon forget.

Absalom will be performed through May 17 at Theater 82 located at 82 Rolfe Square in Cranston. For tickets go to www.artists-exchange.org/epictheatrecompany.html or call 401.490.9475 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Prove that you are human *

Previous post:

Next post: