The Remains of the Day

Buffy Sedlachek's Tamarack combs a crime scene for clues into human nature

Glass houses: Howard (Stephen Yoakam) gazes in at the Sheriff (Terry Hempleman) and his wife (Barbara Kingsley) in the Jungle's Tamarack
Glass houses: Howard (Stephen Yoakam) gazes in at the Sheriff (Terry Hempleman) and his wife (Barbara Kingsley) in the Jungle's Tamarack

This is a bad time for thrillers. With the events of the past week, it is hard to muster up much passion for an invented series of onstage murders. I watched the play and felt no concern whatsoever for the fate of the absent mother. But Tamarack is not just a thriller. The murders dredge up the shameful, hidden pasts of Sedlachek's characters, and the play examines them with an intensity that is near clinical. This parallels the grim professionalism of the police work as the sheriff sends the corpses of the opening scene for autopsies and combs the crime-scene evidence coming back from forensic labs. The play digs deep into its essential questions, namely, How could this have happened? and What happens now? At this moment in history, those questions feel awfully important.

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