As part of Jenn McKee and Don Calamia’s new Platonic Theater Date review series, they attended the same Friday performance of Planet Ant’s “Appropriate,” on May 11, and followed-up with a conversation about the show. Here’s their joint review:
Sometimes, a death in the family can bring out the worst in people. This is, in part, because family members are each processing grief in their own way, but there are also awkward, inevitable conversations about who gets what, and how assets should be divided. In addition, everyone involved is forced to revisit and reassess their relationship to the deceased and to each other. And finally, related adults who have long gotten used to not living anywhere close to each other may suddenly find themselves thrown together in close quarters for a few days.
All this (and far, far more) is in play in Branden Jacobs-Jenkins’s “Appropriate,” now being staged at Hamtramck’s Planet Ant Theatre through May 19th, directed by Joe Bailey. Set on what was once an Arkansas plantation –where the Lafayette family’s patriarch, a retired judge who became a hoarder, lived his last days – three grown siblings with lots of grudges and complicated history make the pilgrimage to the place where they spent their childhood summers.
Toni (Kelly Ann Komlen), the oldest, is reeling from a divorce, financial strain, her father’s death, and a tenuous relationship with her troubled teenage son Rhys (Shane Nelson); Bo (Joel Mitchell) initially appears to be the Lafayette sibling who broke free, living and working in New York with his wife Rachel (Melissa Beckwith) and two kids Cassidy (Meredith Deighton) and Ainsley (Forrest Gabel); and Frank (Donny Reidel), the longtime addict who’s been MIA for years, suddenly appears on the scene with a young vegan wife named River (Jaclynn Cherry). As family members try to clean up the decaying house for sale, they unearth some alarming items, including a photo album full of lynching photos, and anatomical souvenirs in jars. Continue reading