This is a reprint of my remarks about “Thinks I Know To Be True” at the Milwaukee Repertory Theater presented in their main stage Quadracci Powerhouse during the 2018 – 2019 season. This originally appeared on my Facebook timeline on or about March 31, 2019!
I wasn’t paying attention and I apologize. As part of the Milwaukee Rep’s Social Media Club, I am supposed to write about my reactions to the plays as the season progresses. Now the SMC gets seats for the first weekend of a play’s run but I also have a subscription. So sometimes I had the Rep move my tickets earlier in the run but because of other events, I used my regular tickets for Things I Know To Be True. But there are now only TWO performances left: They are both TODAY March 31: 2:00 PM Matinee and the final performance at 7:00 PM. So if after reading this, you had better call for tickets!!
I was warned by friends that this play would make me laugh and make me cry. And it did…at times when I didn’t expect it and at times when I did…and too often (for my eyes not for the drama) it moved from one to the other without warning. So we have a family…30 years in development…solid middle class blue collar Midwestern family (rewritten for the Midwest by the way). Four kids…two of each…and the big themes of life and love and family and kids and home and death. The children are all ‘adults’ and all in various stages of launched but keep home as a touchstone in their own ways. We know these people…some of us are these people. And that’s why we can laugh and cry and love the characters so readily.
The events and timelines here are very very 21st Century…and although this much action wouldn’t happen within a single family…it all would play out across all of our families. I am trying to avoid giving too much away. But we see the power dynamics between spouses…the changing rhythms in relationships…the struggle to be an individual without losing the sense of family…and we will recognize it all…and laugh and cry and understand.
The actors are all amazing and there is no way you don’t believe that they are their characters…even as those characters transform…and you love them all at different points in the play. The parents are early 60’s age…my peers…or at least my younger siblings’ peers and the children mostly millennial…so it is very contemporary. The only quibble I have is the parents’ viewpoint…it was a mix of my feeling as a parent but sometimes it seemed more in keeping with my parents’ generation. Maybe I am reading too much into that or maybe it got lost in the translation from the Australian.
When does your childhood end (and unspoken: does parenthood ever end?)