After a four-year absence, Theatre Ventoux is back on the boards.
Greg and Lisa Taber are resurrecting the company, which they founded in 2007, and which staged such intellectually charged plays as “The Anastasia Trials,” “Childe Byron” and “This Flattering Glass,” an original adaptation of Shakespeare’s “Richard II.” The company returns with Marsha Norman’s “ ’night, Mother,” which plays for two weekends at the Fresno Soap Co.
Here’s a rundown:
The play: As it opens, daughter Jessie has told her mother, Thelma, that she plans to commit suicide before the night is over.
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The cast: Kayla Weber and Lisa Taber.
The co-directors: Greg Taber and Broderic Beard.
The directorial concept: “Marsha Norman’s writing is so on-point and the relationship is so deeply complex that just delving into the subtext of that is more than enough to craft a rich production without adding a directorial veneer to it,” Greg Taber says. “These are women that we know. These are our mothers, our sisters and our daughters. We don’t need to embellish what they have to say; all we need to do is open ourselves to their story of loneliness, dissatisfaction and disconnection.”
How does the play hold up more than 30 years later? Brilliantly, Taber says. Unlike shows that, while character-driven or beautifully written, are still caught up in the particulars of a given era or issue — and suffer somewhat when those eras pass or those issues lose their immediacy — “Mother” still resonates with its issues of family dysfunction, unfulfilled dreams, suicide, husbands and wives, mothers and daughters, and the cruelties that parents can inflict on their children. “This is a human story and it can touch us all,” Taber says.