Theater Review: “Tree” by Julie Herbert


The play Tree by Julie Herbert is one that involves deep family roots that are tangled. This play, performed at San Francisco Playhouse, is about a white woman Didi and her black half brother Leo. Leo lives in Chicago where she gets confronted by her half-sister in order to discuss with him the letters she received from their dad. Without noticing how privileged she is as a white woman, she pushes her black half brother. Their Father apparently died recently leaving letters for Leo’s Mother. These letters bought the revelation of the fling that Jasselyn had with Didi’s dad and as a result, came the black son, Leo. Joselyn is seriously ailing which makes her sometimes turn violent or gentle. The story presents the stress, tension, anger and feelings of abandonment that this family is faced with. It sought to link people regardless of the estrangements, skin color or sex (Jones, 1).


The story unspools a lot that involves a professor of gender studies, Susi Damilano (Didi) who hails from Luciana and a Chicago chief Leo. The play is majorly about what dilemmas they are confronted with following their newly discovered relationship as half-sister and brother. In this play, Herbert focuses on telling a story that is of parents. The theoretical elements of the play involve the mind and attitudes that Herbert uses to build the story. Additionally, the universe is critical in representing the situation and dilemmas in the “Tree” (Jones, 1).


Few major elements that stood out

A few elements that stood out in the “Tree” are those of theme, plot, and character. The element of the plot stood out with regards to the unity as well as clarity which Hubert sets out in the “Tree”. This is because each action can be seen to initiate the next one and that is credible. The pattern of movement is sound. For instance, the letters read by Didi and her subsequent which prompts her to find this black brother. The theme of the play stands out. This is because; it takes on major issues in the contemporary world that society is confronted with. These include family and racism. The story is intended to be told about the parents. The other element is a character. This was well chosen with the character of Didi who clearly explores the desire of an innocent child trying to know a parent. This character was well executed.



The play, in general, was well planned, directed and performed. However, I would recommend the following perhaps for future improvements. The cost of tickets to the play from my own perspective was a little bit lower. Such plays with amazing theatrical creativity should cost better than that. The play should further consider a wider audience ranging from 16 and above. This is because at 16 children are already able to understand the parenting issues and their effects on the family. Those in the older ages are the parents who are the ones that the play told the story about. The seating plan that I would best recommend for this play is that which can offer impeccable sightlines from different angles. This is to ensure the audience captures all the emotional moments of the play.


Works Cited
Jones, Chad. Theater review: “Tree” explores the tangled roots of the family. 26 Jan 2015. 20 May 2015.

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