Beneath The Tall Tree at TheatreFIRST 

There’s a lot to like about TheatreFIRST. Start with the company’s commitment to having two-thirds of the staff and artists be people-of-color, and half of the whole gang come from the female side of the equation. Then, there are the earthy, one-of-a-kind stories that Artistic Director Jon Tracy finds — seemingly out of thin air. Stories like Beneath The Tall Tree, which runs through March 25. Written by playwrights Adrienne Walters and Jeffrey Lo, the play revolves around a Japanese-American who was sent by Franklin D. Roosevelt’s executive order 9066 to an internment camp during World War II. Years later, his granddaughter returns to the area of his home in search of a sword he buried in his backyard. The young woman’s hunt for a family heirloom is a quest for identity — and her best chance to reclaim what she fears is a lost culture. Director Joy Carlin helms this production and, darn, that’s a fine catch. Expect Carlin to deliver a show with subtle characterizations, unexpected humor, pathos that isn’t ponderous, and spontaneity that can’t be bottled or otherwise contained. Stick around after the show to chat, too: Tracy’s a great listener with a desire for feedback that’s sincere and fearless.

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