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I Am a Tree

Dulcy Rogers brings an engaging combination of warmth and passion to her solo piece about a woman seeking the truth about her mother.

Dulcy Rogers in I Am a Tree
(© Carol Rosegg)
Dulcy Rogers is an engaging and endearing actress who brings a combination of warmth and passion to her new solo piece, I Am a Tree, now at Theatre at St. Clement's.

Rogers plays a 37-year-old woman named Claire, who is at a crossroads in her life. Unable to communicate with her father, who is both geographically and emotionally remote, she turns to her three aunts, none of whom she has seen in more than 30 years, to learn the secret of her mother's descent into madness.

Fearful that she may suffer the same fate as her mother, Claire summons up her courage to search out and confront these three formidable women from her family tree. While each of her aunts remembers their beloved sister in an entirely different way, their memories don't clash, but rather combine into a portrait of a woman with a rich, complicated, if ultimately tragic life.

As the play progresses, Claire slowly learns as much about herself as she does about her mother, and the revelation of surprising details peppered throughout the story keep the tale fresh, despite its formulaic structure.

However, the show would have benefited greatly by taking place on a smaller stage. When Rogers is on one side of the stage, one feels as if she is a mile away from the patrons at the other end of the audience. That wouldn't be an insurmountable problem if one could hear her above the white noise of the theater's humming air conditioning.

Worse, Allan Miller's direction often has Rogers either facing away from the bulk of her audience or even performing with her back to the patrons. The blocking may have served the play, but does neither the audience nor the talented star and author any favors.