Tuesday, November 18, 2014

A Mother and Daughter Argue "The How and the Why"


A Mother and Daughter Argue "The How and the Why"

By Skip Sheffield

Can we talk?
There is woman talk aplenty in Sarah Treem's “The How and Why,” playing through Nov. 30 at Arts Garage Theatre, 180 NW First St., Delray Beach.
“How & Why” is a daughter-mother dialogue between Rachel (Elizabeth Price), a girl given up for adoption in her infancy, and Zelda (Laura Turnbull), her blood mother who never married Rachel’s father and is now a big-deal professor of biology in Cambridge, Mass. Rachel is a graduate student in the same field, and as such is a kind of rival to her mother.
It's a good thing director Margaret Ledford cast Laura Turnbull as the mother, because the character is so unsympathetic, in the hands of a lesser actress we might just have seen her as a selfish shrew. Turner finds the pain in the character and discovers justification for Zelda's behavior.
By the same token Rachel is no model daughter. She is angry, resentful and accusatory, but there is a reason for all of it. Newcomer Elizabeth Price, an adjunct theater professor at Florida Atlantic University, finds redeeming qualities in the prideful, sorrowful Rachel.
There is a lot of technical biological stuff in Sarah Treem's script, mostly involving a woman's reproduction system. A key question is why do female humans menstruate when only a handful of species do the same thing? Theories abound.
Luckily I brought my youngest daughter and her best girlfriend to see the show. This is a play intended for women and enlightened males. However, the conflict between mother and child is universal. Feelings are bound to get hurt as we grow up and become independent. This play says to me we should appreciate our parents while we can, regardless of our relationship or lack thereof.
Tickets are $30 and $35, with $10 student rush available at show time. Call 561-450-6357 or go to www.artsgarage.org.

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