BEST AREA PREMIERE - 2005
Frank Theatre treated this local unveiling of Suzan-Lori Parks's play like the lopsided treasure it was, staging it on the floor of an empty machine shop and applying layers of dread, panic, and tempered affection to a prickly and unforgiving storyline. Shá Cage was both appealing and frightening as Hester, an abortionist living in a backwoods dystopia and dreaming of freeing her son from prison one day. The imagery came in streams, with a crooked mayor, corrupt vigilantes, and bursts of Brechtian song creating a knife's edge amid the waters of surrealism. Along the way, Gregory Stewart Smith's Butcher provided a crucial innocence that kept things from turning too harsh. This was a perfect wedding between Parks's wild and daring play, Cage's depth and energy, and director Wendy Knox's go-for-it style. Nathaniel Hawthorne had no fucking idea what he was getting himself into.