Connections » Profiles

Mothers and Sons

by Drew Jackson
Monday Jun 6, 2016

Uptown Players continues their 15th season with Terrance McNally's exploration of grief, "Mothers And Sons," that opened Friday night at the Kalita Humphreys Theater in Dallas. "Mothers And Sons" is thought-provoking, intelligent theater featuring three powerful performances.

Katharine makes an unexpected visit to Cal, who lives in a Manhattan apartment with his husband Will and their son Bud. What makes Katharine's visit uncomfortable is that her son Andre, who died 20 years ago of AIDS, was Cal's former partner.

Ostensibly Katharine has appeared to return a journal of Andre's to Cal. But she's really arrived looking for answers and still grieving her son.

I'll go full tilt psych and diagnose Katharine in the fluid denial and anger stages of grief. Why did her son die of AIDS? How did he contract the HIV virus? She questions why Andre chose to be gay. Katharine is looking for someone to blame. She's angry that Cal has moved on with his life. She's even mad at the word gay.

But "Mothers and Sons" doesn't paint Katharine as a monster. Generational ignorance aside, she's just a mother who's hurting and who doesn't understand why her son died in the prime of his life.

Marjorie Hayes gives a Master Class in acting as the wounded Katharine. Hayes is strikingly believable as a mother stuck in grief. Hayes can express as much emotion in the play's long silences as she can with the play's dialogue.

Gregory Lush plays Cal while Kevin Moore plays Will. Both gentlemen wisely underplay their roles to great success. Lush exposes multiple layers of vulnerability. "Mothers and Sons" features some of Lush and Moore's best work of their careers.

The tone of "Mothers And Sons" is inconsistent; melodramatic moments are interspersed with clever humorous dialogue. But the inconsistency works well in this show that features one character that remains in the past and another who has moved on with his life.

"Mothers and Sons" ends without resolving any of the questions it raises. But that seems appropriate because while we know how, we'll never comprehend why we lost a generation of sons. "Mothers and Sons" may not be the most enjoyable play of the season but it just may be the most memorable.

"Mothers and Sons" runs through June 19 at the Kalita Humphreys Theater, 3636 Turtle Creek Blvd. in Dallas. For information or tickets, call 214-219-2718 or visit http://www.uptownplayers.org

Drew Jackson was born in Brooklyn and has been writing ever since he graduated from NYC. He now lives in Dallas happily married to his husband Hugh. Jackson is currently working on his next play.

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