Lacey’s Peg is every bit the practical wife, complete with boxy jacket and errand-running purse and no-nonsense ponytail. In fact, her level-headedness can be disarming, which serves to underscore how even the scariest reality can become routine. We see her take Gunner’s gaffes in stride, even though we know she’s silently tallying them. When she finally offers an impassioned avowal — “I’m not ready to lose my husband” — one feels grateful that Peg has permitted herself a moment of honest emotion, and that she’s done so in front of her son.
“Don’t tell your mother,” Gunner tells Jack again and again, both in flashbacks that serve to flesh out the family’s relationships, and in present time. “Don’t tell your father,” Peg says, equally eager to do things her own way. In this way, the audience is shown a source of Jack’s inner conflicts, which Guimont manifests physically — in contrast with Rhys, he is quite tightly wound — and behaviorally. As an only child grappling with his father’s illness and the fallout from his own divorce, Jack feels wholly, totally alone. The metaphor here is that of tides, and how their ebb and flow mimics the pull of memory. But perhaps as apt a comparison would be to islands, and how each of us is our own.
THE OUTGOING TIDE | by Bruce Graham | Directed by Brian P. Allen | Produced by Good Theater | at the St. Lawrence Arts Center, 76 Congress St, Portland | through March 30 | 207.885.5883 | goodtheater.com
Deirdre Fulton can be reached firstname.lastname@example.org.