Around The Town

A Charity Case Opens

          By Patrick Christiano
A Charity Case
, a new play about adoption by Australian playwright and director Wendy Beckett, officially opened Nov. 2 following previews that began Oct. 28 at Off-Broadway’s Clurman Theatre. The drama takes an insightful look into the private lives of an adopted teenage daughter, who is torn between her biological mother, her adoptive mother and the journey of self discovery.

The new work, also directed by Beckett, is the third in her series of plays. The powerful trio of Alysia Reiner, two-time Tony nominee Alison Fraser and Jill Shackner interact beautifully together in Beckett’s disturbing drama that looks at the unknown the “what could have beens.”

Wendy Beckett

A Charity Case, according to press notes, "examines the adoption triangle between a birth mother, the relinquishing mother and a 17-year-old daughter. Our most sacred of relationship is the one we have with our mothers and the journey is blessed, cursed, mysterious and tender. When a child is adopted, a whole layer of complexity is added to that relationship. In A Charity Case, Beckett explores this parallel world."

Jill Shackner as Deidre, a 17 year old lost soul, is good as the adoptive daughter often caring for her adoptive mother at times, while still being true to her own journey. Her adoptive mother Faith (Alison Fraser), a single mom, struggles to find a way to parent her daughter, but seems to lack the motherly instinct of sacrifice. The self absorbed Faith becomes judgmental and critical instead. Fraser is wonderful as the drunk, self obsessed single mother more concerned with her beauty and her boyfriend. Alysia Reiner plays the biological mom “Harpie,” who  questions her own motives.

Wendy Beckett, Alison Fraser, Alysia Reiner, Jill Schakner

Other members of the creative team include scenic designer David L. Arsenault, lighting designer Travis McHale and costume designer Theresa Squire.

A Charity Case is now playing at the Clurman Theatre on Theatre Row, 410 West 42nd Street, between 9th and 10th Avenues through November 20, 2011.  For tickets call Telecharge at 212-239-6200 or online at  The performance schedule is Tue at 7pm, Wed-Sat at 8pm, with matinees on Saturdays at 2pm and Sundays at 3pm.

Photography: Barry Gordin
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