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Review: THE CHILDREN at MOXIE Theatre ponders what price you are willing to pay today for the future of tomorrow

Review: THE CHILDREN at MOXIE Theatre ponders what price you are willing to pay today for the future of tomorrow

Playing through December 4th

THE CHILDREN, a play by Lucy Kirkwood now playing at MOXIE Theatre through December 4th is a funny, and thought-provoking play brought to life through strong direction and excellent performances. Set in a world after a disastrous event, it asks how much are we willing to mortgage the future to avoid paying the price of our actions today.

Hazel (Vanessa Dinning), and Robin (Neil McDonald) are retired scientists who live in a small cottage on the coast of England, just outside of the "exclusion zone" of the nuclear plant they worked at for years that recently had a major disaster. When Rose (Catalina Maynard), a former coworker at the plant, suddenly appears after 38 years her presence is as much a world-shattering event for them as the nuclear disaster was for the world.

Under thoughtful direction by Kim Strassburger the pacing and interactions are cleverly teased throughout as the tensions build to a breaking point. The play is very funny, and each scene uncovers another layer of subtext, showing how mired their histories are with each other and have stayed simmering and ready for combustion even after all this time.

Dinning as Hazel is excellent, her life as a scientist and mother of four children is apparent in her efficiency, domesticity, perceptiveness, and ability to try to maintain her temper as it becomes increasingly challenged by Rose and her purpose. She and Maynard spark against each other in a polite dance of hospitality and hostility.

Maynard as Rose is smart and has the knowing air of one who thinks she knows private secrets. She is Hazel's opposite; no children and is a casual world traveler, and as tensions rise she is still in response to Hazel's constant movement. Rose knows her complacency in many past events has created present challenges, some of which she is there to address.

Review: THE CHILDREN at MOXIE Theatre ponders what price you are willing to pay today for the future of tomorrow

McDonald as Neil is both a loving family man and a lab tech lothario who is struggling to accept that both his age and his actions have led to unexpected revelations. He also provides additional insights into Hazel and Rose, both who they were and who they are now.

The plant they all worked on has caused a massive ecological event, and all three are reacting to it in different ways. The real questions of the play come as the play ruminates on the future and who is responsible to pay for those mistakes. Does your sense of social responsibility increase with having children, or does it narrow down to the good of those you know and love? How much are people willing to sacrifice today for the future they may not see?

The cottage designed by Julie Lorenz is cozy if spartan, and because Hazel and Robin live just outside the exclusion zone means rationed electricity, drinking bottled water, and taking safety precautions. All this only underscores how much people can purposefully ignore how precarious their "normal" is, a state which can only be achieved through severe force of will.

How To Get Tickets

THE CHILDREN is playing at MOXIE Theatre through December 4th/ For ticket and show time information go to www.moxieteatre.com

Photo Credit: Catalina Maynard, Vanessa Dinning, and Neil McDonald in THE CHILDREN, photo courtesy of Daren Scott


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