Theater: “rogerandtom” Presents a Valuable Lesson in Breaking the Rules

Taylor Hooper Photography

Taylor Hooper Photography

Artists never take the easy way out, do they? Estranged, and having refused to speak to one another for five years, Tom, a playwright, has invited his brother, to attend his latest play, a supposed fence-mender. Of course, Roger (Eric T. Miller) soon begins to squirm in his seat, for it is rapidly apparent that rogerandtom, the play that both he and we are watching, isn’t much of a straightforward apology, and may in fact be passively-aggressively using its characters, Tom’s sister Penny (Suzy Jane Hunt) and her soon-to-be-divorced husband Richard (Jonathan Tindle), to take Roger to task for his numerous faults as an absent former alcoholic and–worse, to an emotional and artistic younger brother–a “standoffish, blue collar Everyman.” In fact, the whole thing begins to seem like an experimental set-up, with Penny explaining to Richard that her brother, Roger, who she has not seen in years, is due to show up any moment, and that they’re off to see their brother Tom’s play later that evening. When she calls to see what’s keeping him, a phone rings in the audience; Roger soon stands up and, apologizing to his fellow spectators, begins to exit the theater.

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