Gripping ‘David’s Mother’ Is Fresh Look at Self-Sacrifice
A single mother raising a developmentally disabled son pays a heavy price for her devotion in “David’s Mother,” Bob Randall’s unsentimental look at the dark side of self-sacrifice. A powerful revival at the Colony Studio Theatre honors the unsettling truths and refusal to settle for emotional cliches, keeping the play fresh and topical.
As the fiercely protective Sally, Francesca Casale turns in a multifaceted gem of a performance--smart, caustic and blunt in the finest tradition of New Yorkers. Her refusal to shuttle her son David (J. Michael Wright) off to an institution has already cost Sally the affections of a husband (John Ross Clark) and daughter (Amy French)--not because their demands were unreasonable, but because they simply wanted some of the time and caring that she reserved exclusively for David.
Sally seems headed for a repeat performance when her yenta sister (Lisa Beezley) tries to fix her up with a kind widower (David Carey Foster).
Tanya Little-Palmer and Hartley Haverty round out the capable cast.
In deftly executed shifts between past and present, co-directors Tom Knickerbocker and Michael David Wadler peel away Sally’s layers of self-protective insulation, forcing her to the painful recognition that her “nurturing” is smothering any chance for David’s growth. Posing a dilemma refreshingly free of hissy villains and unrealistic heroics, “David’s Mother” finds compelling drama in the unglamorous challenges of real life.
* “David’s Mother,” Colony Studio Theatre, 1944 Riverside Drive, Los Angeles. Saturdays, 2 p.m.; Sundays, 7 p.m.; Tuesdays, Wednesdays, 8 p.m. Ends April 23. $10. (323) 665-3011. Running time: 2 hours, 15 minutes.