Written and directed by Richard Nelson
Designed by Susan Hilferty and Jason Ardizzone-West
Lighting designed by Jennifer Tipton
Sound designed by Scott Lehrer and Will Pickens
Featuring Mag Gibson, Lynn Hawley, Roberta Maxwell, Maryann Plunkett, Jay O. Sanders and Amy Warren
Subiaco Arts Centre
Until February 18
Early in What Did You Expect, the second of the trilogy of plays that constitutes Richard Nelson’s The Gabriels, we are told a story translated from a Russian play.
Two old men stand outside an apartment block. Through its windows, they can see a happy family enjoying their time together. What the old men know, but the family inside doesn’t, is that the family’s daughter has just drowned in the river.
It’s a moment deeply reminiscent of the “fell swoop” scene in Macbeth, or the playful family scene in The Wild Duck that presages its catastrophe.
It is the fulcrum of The Gabriels, a dagger in the heart of its story. We have been beautifully prepared for it, and events – or the discovery of them – follow swiftly after.
It’s one example of the invisible architecture of this intimate, monumental American masterpiece.