Writer Velina Hasu Houston’s new play has an enigmatic title – “The Peculiar and Sudden Nearness of the Moon.” But you can sum up the story in a sentence. A comfortable, White married couple has a baby, a lovely girl. . . but she doesn’t entirely resemble either of her parents. The new mom confronts her mother in this scene, demanding to know if there’s something she’s been hiding.
But it’s African heritage that’s evident in the new baby girl, and the repercussions of her arrival destabilize the lives of several family members in this play, as they alternately start asking uneasy questions or retreat into icy suspicion or denial. This also creates a tremendous opportunity for the playwright, who describes this family’s dilemma – and the whole topic of mixed race identity – through scenes that are sometimes realistic and other times hallucinatory and fantastical.
The Sacramento Theatre Company has done Houston’s work before – you may remember plays like “Kokoro,” and “Tea.” This intense, though-provoking new script is one of Houston’s best efforts, and this premiere is well-acted and smoothly staged from start to finish.
Jeff Hudson, KXJZ News.