3 out of 4 stars
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The Rooting Place is a play written by Betty Norwood Chaney. The story is set in 1985 and revolves around four generations of women. Raye, who 46 years old, has taken her 30-year-old daughter Simone and Simone’s infant son Oba from Atlanta to rural Mississippi to visit her family, whom she has not seen in thirty years. Simone is not happy about being stranded at a bus terminal in the middle of nowhere at 2:30 in the morning. Raye calls her cousin Cleve, who takes the women to Raye’s grandmother Ida’s home.
Raye wants to heal the relationship between herself and her mother, Bessie, and to give Oba the opportunity to be connected to family, which is something that she was unable to give Simone. The theme of the play seems to be divisions caused by family secrets. There is a terrible secret at the heart of the rift between the women in the family. The play does a wonderful job at illustrating the divisions between family members and the need for atonement.
It is difficult to determine if the play is professionally edited because of the colloquial dialect used by the characters. The typos that I encountered may have been a formatting issue rather than a problem in the editing. They involved two words being run together with no space between them, such as “you gittingyo’self all flustered.”
There is nothing that I disliked about The Rooting Place. I would give it four out of four stars based on the execution of the story, but because of the numerous typos, I reluctantly give it three out of four stars.
Readers who enjoy theatre and who like drama and unique, quirky characters will enjoy The Rooting Place. The content of the play is fascinating, and the characters are compelling. I would love to see a performance of this play.
There are no explicitly erotic scenes and no strong profanity, but because of the play’s adult subject matter, it is not suitable for younger readers.
Theatre is an endangered medium, particularly in an age where people have numerous streaming services where they can obtain instantaneous access to entertainment. I am pleased to see that there are writers who are dedicated to keeping theatre alive through powerful stories such as The Rooting Place. I also appreciated the fact that the play focused on the experiences and motivations of women and helped the reader understand why these women made decisions that may have appeared selfish on the surface but were, in fact, motivated by a need to survive and to protect those close to them.
The Rooting Place
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