BWW Preview: OTHER DESERT CITIES at Old Opera House
If your family has been arguing over politics lately, they have nothing on Wyeth family in Other Desert Cities, opening Friday at the Old Opera House.
Directed by DC Cathro Other Desert Cities features the Wyeth family on Christmas Eve. Daughter Brooke returns home to celebrate the holiday and reveals to her family she is planning to publish a memoir revealing personal details about a tragic event in their family's history. Tensions explode as emotionally and politically separated family members argue about the unexpected news.
While working on a show featuring a dysfunctional family, the cast quickly became as close as a family in real life.
"The cast and crew was like a family. We had so much fun and food together. Everyone was very supportive of each other" said Christine Brewer, who plays Polly Wyeth.
"The cast has been absolutely fantastic, diving in head first and really exploring the characters. Sometimes casts just gel, and this is one of those great rare events. We laugh and really dissect what's going on, and enjoy way too many sweets" said director DC Cathro.
" It's been great to explore complex emotions, exercise your creativity, and make discoveries in an inviting space with supportive people. The Old Opera House does a great job of welcoming not just talent, but friendly, fun, good-hearted individuals. We work hard then crack each other up!" said Melissa Powell, who plays Brooke Wyeth.
Though Other Desert Cities features a simple setting, the relationships between the family members in the story are highly complex.
"This is a story about a family. While there are fun moments, there are also many issues that are always simmering under the surface. The most challenging aspect of this show for me was seeking out and exploring the emotional relationships amongst the characters" said Amy Hebb, who plays Silda Grauman.
"The show is pretty intense at times. Think Thanksgiving dinner this past year if your Aunt Martha is a hard core conservative and you were a Hillary supporter. But it is more than just political views that are the cause of tension in this family. We have to show some pretty complex family relationships" said Brewer.
"This family cares about each other very much. No one in this show is all right or all wrong, and there are no clear, easy answers to the dilemma they face" said Powell
The cast is eager to share the drama will local audiences and hopefully spark some conversations about the show and family relationships outside of the theater.
"It will make audiences think. We don't do many dramas at the Old Opera House - musicals, comedies and mysteries are the usual fare - so this is something different that I think our audience will really enjoy" said Brewer.
" Other Desert Cities explores the sacrifices that are made to protect those we love, even at the cost of losing them. I believe audiences will be entertained and will leave the theatre with something to think about" said Hebb.
" Maybe audiences will gain a little perspective on their own family issues by watching. There is an overall message of hope. Even this broken family offers their own "best they can do" version of unconditional support" said Powell.
"It's a fantastic script performed by a stellar cast, the story is engaging, moving, and full of drama tempered with fun. I'm really hoping to get audiences in here to see what kinds of discussions the show triggers" said Cathro.
Other Desert Cities also features Charles Boyce as Lyman Wyeth and John Glymph as Tripp Wyeth. Other Desert Cities will run February 3, 4, 5 ,10 ,11 and 12 at the Old Opera House, located at 204 N. George Street, Charles Town, WV. Friday and Saturday performances are at 8:00 PM and Sunday matinee performances are at 2:30 PM.. Tickets are $22 for adults, $19 for students and seniors and $15 for children. Please call 304-725-4420 or visit www.oldoperahouse.org to make reservations.
Photo Credit: Old Opera House