Two Mile Hollow – Stray Cat Theatre: Tempe Center for the Arts, Tempe

Monday, January 21, 2019
Valley Screen and Stage


A wealthy white family gathers at their family home by a lake for one last time. Throughout the course of the story, the pill-popping matriarch and her dysfunctional clan will argue, self-reflect, and suffer the consequences of things either said or unsaid, with plenty of reveals along the way. Before everyone leaves there’ll be tension among the siblings, declarations of hidden feelings, and a lengthy dinner table scene with food and wine, all prepared and served by the family help, the story’s single person of color.

If the setup sounds familiar, it’s intentional. The problems of the characters are not necessarily our problems, they’re privileged white people problems; self-inflicted dramas that can come as a result of having too much spare time, a bulging bank account, and generally getting what you want. The rest of us can’t indulge. We’re too busy simply getting through the day. Yet white audiences relate and are continually drawn to the subject because, well, the characters are white and they’re living a lifestyle that many would like to be living. Plus, white people love being near water. Look for an online blog called Stuff White People Like and go to item number 51. You’ll see it’s living by a lake.

But writer Winkler isn’t just skewering the conventions of ‘wealthy whites by the lake’ dramas, as in On Golden Pond, Our Place, and Five Mile Lake, she’s setting it on fire.

Much is funny. 

Director Louis Farber approaches the play in the spirit that Winkler’s script dictates. And he’s working with a good cast. Erin Kong’s Mary is a comical standout. Plus, Aaron Sheckler’s scenic design of an expanding lake house is creatively effective, while Kristen Peterson’s sound design of not only cawing lakeside birds but of stormy, thunderous booms that coincide with the raging, heightened though cartoonish emotions of the characters is excellent.