Three’s a charm

Western Suburbs Weekly - - Stage - Tanya Macnaughton

FOR non-don­ald Trump sup­port­ers, New York theatre pro­duc­tion The Gabriels: Elec­tion Year in the Life of One Fam­ily might just be the best thing to emerge from the United States 2016 elec­tion year.

Writ­ten by Tony Award-win­ning play­wright and di­rec­tor Richard Nel­son, who wrote the four-play se­ries The Ap­ple Fam­ily Plays, this tril­ogy is an eight-hour (in­clud­ing breaks) view­ing marathon at Perth In­ter­na­tional Arts Fes­ti­val 2017.

The three plays in The Gabriels cy­cle – Hun­gry, What Did You Ex­pect? and Women of a Cer­tain Age – fol­low the life of the Gabriel fam­ily as they pre­pare three din­ners in their Rhinebeck kitchen in up­state New York across eight months.

Hun­gry is on the night of March 4 (the Fri­day af­ter Su­per Tues­day), What Did You Ex­pect? on the night of Septem­ber 16 (with the elec­tion in full swing) and Women of a Cer­tain Age on the evening of Elec­tion Day (Novem­ber 8).

Pre­miered in real time in New York on the dates the plays are set, The Gabriels is no less rel­e­vant to PIAF au­di­ences who now get to view the pro­duc­tion in hind­sight.

It was a dif­fi­cult year for the US and the Gabriel fam­ily per­son­ally, who are deal­ing with the loss of their hus­band/son/brother. Th­ese US mile­stone mo­ments co­in­cide with their time­frame of deeply per­sonal ones – spread­ing Thomas Gabriel’s ashes, dis­cov­er­ing the fam­ily’s debt and the one-year an­niver­sary of his death.

The au­di­ence is wit­ness to the emo­tion, thoughts, mem­o­ries and ev­ery­day dis­cus­sion tak­ing place around the kitchen ta­ble as the ac­tors chop, peel, run wa­ter at the sink and set the oven timer while cook­ing.

By the end of play two, in­stead of feel­ing weary of the time spent in the theatre you are left wait­ing in an­tic­i­pa­tion to see what the fi­nal play brings; not ready to leave the tragedy, heartache and hu­mour of the Gabriel fam­ily just yet.

The Gabriels is show­ing at Su­bi­aco Arts Cen­tre un­til Satur­day, Feb­ru­ary 18.

A scene from three-play cy­cle The Gabriels.

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