Unbroken Circle tells the story of a Texan family in the recent past whose secrets come to light during the aftermath of the patriarch’s death. It seemed so simple, this premise, and not exactly groundbreaking, but it was so surprisingly well constructed that it seemed novel. The play offers complex ideas of family dynamics, the need to protect loved and not-so-loved ones, and the decision behind bringing secrets to light. I expected another interesting family drama about interesting but not surprising familial narratives, but instead got an intense look at sexual abuse, incest, and deciding what the best bad option might be.
Another standout was Susanna Hay as the family matriarch, Ruby. She was so realistic I thought perhaps Seth Rudetsky stole her from a conversative Texan family and threw her on that stage. Such excellent acting. The Brady Bunch’s Eve Plumb plays Ruby’s super-super-Christian sister, getting the most laughs per line because who doesn’t love laughing at crazy right-wingers who are out of touch with reality? The whole cast was great, though. I didn’t realize until after the first act that the playwright, James Wesley, plays Bobby, a very main character, and that his daughter in the show was played by his daughter in real life, Juli! That is a freaking talented family! (Juli’s other father is the aforementioned Rudetsky, whom I adore. I wouldn’t hate spending holidays with that family.) The real-life connection added such intensity.
I hope this show gets extended as much as it can so more people can enjoy it. It was refreshing to see a play showcasing its intent clearly and candidly, not hiding anything in pretext or confusing theses or an unsaid something the audience is magically supposed to grasp. Yet it was an still impressively deep, and overall impressive, little show, a highlight of the current scene.