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'The Subject Was Roses'...and dysfunction and love

Oct 24 2007
Charles Passy | Palm Beach Post

It's so easy to take for granted the good work that Palm Beach Dramaworks does, finding a jewel of a play history has nearly forgotten about and then bringing it back to life in a searing, straightforward production. Such is the case with the West Palm Beach company's season opener: Frank D. Gilroy's Pulitzer Prize-winning mid-'60s drama The Subject Was Roses, directed with thoughtful clarity by Dramaworks Producing Artistic Director William Hayes and featuring a trio of confident, poised actors ready to mine its emotional depths. Gilroy's play has aged remarkably well, giving real shape and texture to the inner workings of a family... Hayes hasn't forgotten that, wisely resisting the temptation to find modern meaning in the work...He places faith in the story and its sturdy theme, letting the play unfold with the heightened tension of a solid family drama. Big moments are given their due, such as when John and Nettie physically clash. But smaller ones - a dance around the living room between Timmy and Nettie - have their place, too. Certainly, this rich, rewarding Dramaworks production leaves open a garden's worth of possibilities.