Water | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

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Citizens of an Oregon coastal town where meth labs have replaced paper mills are divided by accusations of child abuse. But the truth--and an opportune wildfire--sets them free. Avoiding the show-off symbolism of slicker scripts, Alice Austen's down-home drama is about real people who've reached dead ends: a confused charismatic preacher, a pot-growing "horticulturalist" who turns to orchids for redemption, an eco-terrorist intent on preserving the water by destroying farms. Nothing happens here because the audience wants it--there's no wish fulfillment. Well cast and justifiably earnest, Russ Tutterow's staging is anchored by Peter DeFaria's commanding performance as a bullying husband while Cat Dean as an accused mother turns a supposed victim of postpartum depression into a complex survivor. --Lawrence Bommer a Through 5/27: Thu-Sat 8 PM, Sun 3 PM, Chicago Dramatists, 1105 W. Chicago, 312-633-0630, $22-$28.

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