THEATER REVIEW: “Downstairs” @ Dorset Theatre Festival [Berkshire on Stage]
Review by Gail M. Burns
Both playwright Theresa Rebeck and actor Tim Daly have close relationships the state of Vermont and the Dorset Theatre Festival. When Mr. Daly was starring in Rebeck’s play The Scene at Dorset in 2013, he suggested that she write a play for him and his sister Tyne Daly to do together. While they have appeared in film and on television together, they have never shared the stage. In this world premiere of Rebeck’s Downstairs they play a brother and sister of similar age to the actors, but there the resemblances ends.
In a recent interview with Stratton Magazine, Rebeck spoke of the influences that her surroundings in Vermont, including her home in Dorset, had on Downstairs. “The specific idea for the play grew out of them and also out of the basement of our guesthouse in Vermont,” Rebeck explains. “It is a strange and interesting space to me, and I thought it might be great to set a play there.”
In that same Stratton interview, Ms. Daly is quoted as saying: “I’ve concluded after 56 years in this business, that I don’t believe in art that doesn’t move you. It has to move you. You have to rile people up either with funny, or scary, or things to think about.”
Downstairs hits all three of Ms Daly’s goals. It is moving, funny and scary, and it gives one many things to think about.