Bulrusher is a full-length coming of age story, which features the awakening and revelation of individual characters and a change in the consciousness of the community the characters represent. The play is set in Boonville, California in 1955, an existing town with a history of a unique local dialect. The author states in the notes that the characters do not have a contemporary self-consciousness, and the play read to me more like the inhabitants of a struggling frontier town from maybe 80 years earlier.
The title character is openly mystical, a lore that is both cast upon her and one that she lives. Falling in love surprises her and reveals her identity at an individual level and with resonance in the community. Bulrusher is well-wrought, the prose and the story move well, and the dialect is a neat element which pulls the ear and the curiosity. The ending is also neutral. I love a play that does not tell you how to feel.
It’s plays like this that make me realize I may a producer more than a director. I absolutely see the value of this show in a season, but the mysticism, songs, and setting don’t light any personal fires for me to make me want to do it. Well worth a read though.
Cast: 6 3M 3F Runtime: 82 pp. Let’s call it 90 minutes? Themes: historical regional, sexuality, identity, coming of age, roots, water, mysticism.