Juniper treeI was intrigued from the start. An elderly Indianapolis Jewish woman drinks tea. She literally invites us to join her in the ritual of tea, three lumps of sugar please, as she shares her past. Juniper tree is set in 1968 shortly after Martin Luther King was shot.

The Juniper Tree
Drama worth watching
Recommended for Middle School Age and Above

She tells of the ritual of tea and how intimately connected that is with her family. She and her family have faced racism, prejudice, anger, and fear. Her hometown in Russia, her move from Russia, her daughter, granddaughter, and great-granddaughters. And of course, she tells the story of the Juniper tree. She portrays each character: the grandmother, daughter, and granddaughter. Each struggles with their past and knowing who they are and where they belong in the present. The stories are compelling and intertwine from one generation to the next.

The Juniper Tree becomes a metaphor for life and family bonds. It often symbolizes twists and turns which are certainly appropriate in this story. The juniper tree is rugged a tree surviving and growing almost anywhere. As Susan’s character says, “Sometimes we pass on the darkest part of our humanity.” Are we who we think we are? Are family bounds ever actually broken?

A great show to watch with family and then discuss your own family’s past. What are your families, secrets, trials, and strengths?

Susan Bennett returns to the Indy Fringe. I Said NO debuted at Indy Fringe 2013 and Simply Complicated in 2014 Susan’s voice is easy to listen to as she distinctly portrays each character. The playwright Timothy Taylor did a great deal searching on the questions of his identity where skin color and DNA can tell different stories. This play is debuting at Indy Fringe 2016. Susan Bennett and the playwright Timothy Taylor are both Indianapolis residents.

Five more performances at the Phoenix Underground, 749 N. Park Ave. Please remember this is Indy Fringe so come early as there is no late entry.