Debbie Tucker Green's engaging one-act drama at Soho Rep focuses on a family avoiding a difficult subject.
It's a clever, if well-worn, minimalist device -- one that's been pioneered by master playwrights such as Edward Albee and David Mamet and overused by countless others -- but Green makes it plausible that her characters would do everything they could to avoid talking about this deep secret. The vignette scene structure serves the play exceedingly well, stringing us along with glimpses of the trauma festering beneath the surface and presenting tableaux flashes that are as fractured as the family they depict.
As might be expected, Dawta gets some of the most emotionally charged lines. She confronts her Mum early on: "And I'll letcha look in my face now yu wanna, I dunno what you wanna see" -- and never relents. Mum refuses to look, perhaps out of guilt, but her justification for Dawta's accusation is simply that she was "born bad."
Dawta's two sisters believe this as well, if only as a way to hold onto their memories of a happier childhood, while Brother, who is the lone supporter of Dawta's accusations, has his own reasons for believing her. He's much more mild mannered though, acting as nice foil for the incendiary protagonist.