I AM A TREE: 100% – Bittersweet

Photo: Rogers in 'I Am a Tree.' Credit: Deidrich Bader

SWEET
It’s that “Rashomon”-like uncertainty that gives the play dramatic heft. Granted, Rogers’ brusque penultimate character blurs a bit with Claire’s wispier persona. The fact that Claire’ fears about generational insanity are never fully addressed mars the otherwise uplifting ending. However, under the direction of Bob Koherr, Rogers crafts lushly offbeat and ferociously intelligent characters that range from Auntie Mame extravagance to Gertrude Stein gruffness. As believable as they are larger-than-life, her gallery of eccentrics is memorable.
F. Kathleen Foley – LA Times

SWEET
With painstaking craft and breathless execution, Ms. Rogers chiseled each posture, tone of voice, gesture, movement, and facial expression into a character that was credible and distinct. You could meet the three sisters on the street and you’d say, Oh yeah, that’s Aurelia, empress of the Grand Gesture, that’s chatterbox Lillian, that’s judgmental Lou Ann. You’d see the father and go, he doesn’t talk much but damn, isn’t he smart? And then you’d see Claire and you’d realize, as we did that night, that she was operatic, she did carry on when the mood struck her, and she did seem a little wary about things. It makes sense doing this as a one-woman show: all these people, they are her family, in no little part, they are her. They share DNA, histories, and experiences. In the course of this enchanted evening, we discover, at the same time that Claire does, how she’s accumulated and assimilated all these traits to become the woman she is.
James Scarborough – What the Butler Saw

BITTERSWEET
Rogers’ monologue frequently bogs down in cerebral metaphors and symbols, which leave the impression that the work is more involving as a literary read than as a performance piece. However, director Bob Koherr’s intimate staging is unexpectedly effective at evoking the atmosphere of a children’s story — including the three wise Aunts who seem right out of A Wrinkle In Time and a portrait of contemporary Manhattan that’s both enchanting and timeless. The problem is that the writing opts for arch coolness over any passionate feeling that might involve us in the story. Rogers plays all the characters with commendable versatility, but she’s unable to enliven the monologue’s drier elements.
Paul Birchall – LA Weekly

“I Am a Tree,” Lillian Theatre at Elephant Stages, 6322 Santa Monica Blvd., Hollywood.  8 p.m. Thursdays-Saturdays.
Ends July 17.  $20.  (323) 960-7711 (cq).  www.plays411.com/Tree.  Running time:  1 hour, 30 minutes.

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