Treadwell doesn't pretend that Helen can remain a pathetic innocent — although perfectly cast, Rosenstein conveys innocence early on with natural ease. Eventually she is stepping out to a bar with a girlfriend (Leah Anderson), hoping to get picked up. Complying with prompt eagerness is a young man who soon becomes her Lover (Alston Brown). When she married for practical reasons, she stopped speaking dreamily to her mother about falling in love. But now she picks up the thread, trying to get him to say he loves her and, when he suggests they run off to Mexico, she keeps using the word "forever."

We don't see the murder but we don't miss it, because this drama has been all about the why rather than the what. The trial takes only about 15 minutes of the 105-minute performance, aided by skillful ensemble members Grant Chapman, Liz Morgan, and Brandon J. Vukovic.

The trajectories of some lives are sadly predictable. Some lives are over as soon as they start.

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