Content note: discussions of abusive language, discussions of elder murder, offstage death of an elder.
"The Burdens" is a two person play. The two siblings communicate primarily by text, email, voicemail, and the occasional talking directly to the audience. The siblings are Jewish, on opposite coasts, and clearly are close but also disconnected in the way that adult siblings often are, especially when one is still on the same coast as the relatives, and one isn't.
Also because they are texting there are timing things, autocorrects, and also emotional disconnects.
Their grandfather is one hundred, requires a lot of special care, and is draining their mother's finances, and also the grandfather is not super nice. The brother is an aspiring musician who works in a pharmacy. The sister is a lawyer, and is married with kids, to a husband who is not sure that she should be so involved in all the day to day of her family's life and certainly not be providing the level of financial assistance she is. And well, it starts to seem like things would be better if their grandfather was dead.
The play is set in a specific time, with autocorrect and old AOL accounts. The sibs seem like they are gen X, having experienced a specific moment in time in technology.
It seems like it would be odd to watch a couple play siblings, But - well they are very good actors, so I hesitate to attribute this to something other than skill, but it seems like folks who are close would make similar expressions and do things that actually look like people who grew up together. It could also be that they are very skilled.
This play was very well suited to both Zoom format and to a week when folks generally gather with family.
I did miss a live audience a bit, because there is nothing like the collective gasp of an audience when characters fight and we all know they crossed a line, even if they might also be a little bit right.
The recording of the reading remains available for the next few days.