Hébert’s moving Tree explores family’s tangled roots

Jan 26

Tree 1
Jessalyn Price (Cathleen Riddley) and her son, Leo (Carl Lumbly), share a rare moment of lucidity in Julie Hébert’s Tree at San Francisco Playhouse. Below: Didi Marcantel (Susi Damilano, left) and JJ Price ( Tristan Cunningham) admire JJ’s portrait of her grandmother. Photos by Jessica Palopoli

I reviewed Julie Hébert’s drama Tree at the San Francisco Playhouse for the San Francisco Chronicle. Here’s a sample:

Director Jon Tracy’s powerful and poignant production feels grounded in reality of the siblings and their fraught, fractious attempts at a relationship, but in the realm of the parents, there’s a lyrical quality filled with love and sadness that elevates the play from kitchen-sink drama to something more.

Hébert is not just interested in airing family secrets or opening up a discussion about how people of different races deal with one another. Through the character of Didi especially, she’s exploring a child’s desire to truly know a parent. The father Didi meets in Jessalyn’s letters is so unlike the man she grew up with she feels compelled to learn more about this virtual stranger so filled with passion, humor and love. She wishes at one point that she could have been that man’s daughter.

Read the full review here.

Tree 2

[bonus interview]
I interviewed playwright Julie Hébert for a feature in the San Francisco Chronicle. Read the feature here.

FOR MORE INFORMATION
Julie Hébert’s Tree continues through March 7 at San Francisco Playhouse, 450 Post St., San Francisco. Tickets are $20-$120. Call 415-677-9596 or visit www.sfplayhouse.org.

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