Other Desert Cities – by Crystiona Maiden

February 11, 2013 in Blog by Cindy-Bandle-Young-Critics

The mysterious yet intriguing production Other Desert Cities by Jon Robin Baitz’s is a gloomy rather comical production. Your beginning thoughts of the play will absolutely contradict what really happens. This play is centered on a woman named Brooke (Tracy Michelle Arnold) who hasn’t seen her family in a while. Brooke is still in deep depression about the death of her brother Henry. On another note, to add comic relief to the production Baitz included Aunt Silda (Linda Kimbrough) but she has dark elements to her story. Which is unexplained, but Aunt Silda adds a bit of flavor to the production, both hot and cold.

It’s Christmas Eve and Brooke comes home with a surprise that she has been working on for years. Brooke wants to publish a book about the story of her brother Henry. She believes that writing this book will relieve some of her anxiety. Brooke has to struggle with hearing her parents’ opinions on the book. Brooke first consults with her younger brother Trip (John Hoogenakker) who only wants tranquility for the whole family. She has an idea that it is her parents’ fault that Henry is dead, but words come out to make it an untold obscurity.

It is in the Wyeth family home where this story takes place. It is in the hot city of Palm Springs. The setting is amazing (Designed by Thomas Lynch). I love how everything in the room is so modern. The lighting is perfect for what is going on. When Brooke’s father Lyman Wyeth, (Chelcie Ross) is so over all of this family drama and decides he can’t take anymore, he finally lets out this puzzling family secret. I could feel the tension in the room. The lights got brighter and brighter as the tension in the room began to boil.

The actors in this production are very superior. Costumes designed by Kaye Voyce, were great, and very modern. They dress like well taken care of rich people, that which they were. The mother Polly (Deanna Dunagan) is well dressed in something like first lady attire. Though her outer appearance may seem rich and cute, her demeanor is mysterious and hides some secrets, too.

Foreshadowing and predicting is what I found myself doing a lot of. I love to predict what will happen and then be totally wrong. Everyone had one idea in mind, and then the story line throws you a big disclosure. It keeps you on the edge of your seat just wondering and looking forward to the outcome. I can say, overall, I enjoyed this mysterious production.