Tiny Beautiful Things
Giving Tree Theater — through March 10
“There are stories – one of them might cure you.”
Indeed, Giving Tree Theater’s production of Tiny Beautiful Things, running now through March 10 (tickets $26), might just be the antidote to whatever has got you down lately. Amy Kaduce, with assistance from Michele Hinz, has directed a beautiful staging of heartfelt and heart-rending stories that complement each other, interact with each other and ultimately offer the audience a host of beautiful things.
Based on a book by Cheryl Strayed and adapted for the stage by Nia Vardalos, Tiny Beautiful Things is taken from letters written to “Dear Sugar,” an advice column written by Sugar, played at Giving Tree by Lynne Rothrock. As she answers the letters she receives, Rothrock is on stage the entire two-hour run.
Alternately funny, serious and thoughtful (sometimes all three simultaneously!), Rothrock becomes the beautiful heart of the show. She moves about her house, having encounters with the stories and pleas for advice that arrive on her screen while she navigates her own past and stories. The way these stories are staged and acted create an authentic stories that had the opening night audience in stitches and tears.
The letter writers are played by Katie Starks, David Morton and Jacob Kostiv, all of whom adopt varying intonation and body language for the variety of topics that their letters offer. From tragedy to relationships, from a Santa fetish to confusion and loss: Nothing is off the table for Sugar’s letter writers. The actors move through the play beautifully. They appear, disappear and reappear across a three-room stage inventively created by Richie Akers to share their deepest troubles and funniest moments.
Almost every vignette offered throughout the show has a quote that can resonate with audience members. “We must let the people who love us see what made us,” or “WTF: I’m asking this question as it applies to everything every day,” or “You don’t have to be broken for me.” The letters and ensuing advice create a series of “flabbergasting conversations” that will leave you wanting to hear the stories again.