Conversations In Tusculum
2.86 out of 5
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MY DAUGHTER KEEPS OUR HAMMER follows two estranged sisters, one needy mother, and one intolerable sheep.
Stuck in a forgotten prairie town, clashing sisters Sarah and Hannah unite when they attempt to housebreak mom's beloved sheep, Vicky, the lone survivor of the family's former flock.
But family secrets make bad shepherds.
And the sisters must choose: reconcile their past, or sacrifice their future?
"Part Sam Shepard gothic drama, part Moth Radio Hour yarn, MY DAUGHTER KEEPS OUR HAMMER, by Brian Watkins, tells the story of Sarah and Hannah, sisters in their 20s, living with their ailing mother in the farm country of Eaton, Colo., and desperate for a way out.
Or, rather, the sisters tell the story, addressing the audience in a series of monologues.
Sarah, who mainly tends to their self-absorbed, needy mother, hopes to flee this prison of obligation and go to college.
Hannah gets off the ranch only long enough for her job at the diner in town.
Before he deserted them years earlier, their dad left their mother two gifts: a pickup truck that each daughter sees as a means of escape, and Vicky, a sheep that becomes her beloved pet.
The sisters don't agree on much but they both detest Vicky, a smelly beast too stupid to be housebroken and forever fouling the house and bumping into things she shouldn't.
Vicky gets a lot more attention, let alone affection, from their mom than they do.
With very few tools - just two women talking for about an hour - Mr Watkins expertly forges a claustrophobic atmosphere.
Dread is grimly stoked throughout, and explosive resolution draws ever closer ..." -Daniel M Gold, The New York Times "Brian Watkins shows a dizzying level of control in his ghoulish, Plains-gothic MY DAUGHTER KEEPS OUR HAMMER - a short, nasty thriller of riveting literary quality.
Plays rarely scare us: the dramatic form usually has too much light and interaction for true creepiness.
But by using bare-bones storytelling, Watkins taps deep into reservoirs of dread ..." -Helen Shaw, Time Out New York "Distinctly American ... think Sam Shepard's TRUE WEST, yet is carves out a chilling little niche for itself."
-TheaterMania "A mesmerizing tale ... pure, unadulterated talent."