After experiencing “The Subject Was Roses,” you have a wonderful, subtle, melancholy feeling in your bones that makes you weak in the knees. This is the way it made me feel. The play is a beautiful story written by Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Frank D. Gilroy and directed by the acclaimed Neil Pepe that explores the dynamic complexities of a family’s relationships with one another.

Martin Sheen graciously enters the stage glancing in the hallway mirror to fix his fedora. He plays John Cleary, the father of Brian Geraghty’s character, Timmy Cleary, which Sheen originated in the original production of “The Subject Was Roses” in 1964, as well as recreated for the film in 1968. Sheen’s vitality and presence alone are remarkable.

Frances Conroy’s Nettie Cleary plays a wonderfully tender and delicate counterpart to Sheen. Geraghty, as Timmy, is the son who has returned from war a different man to the same unresolved family issues. These issues, however, are not anything out of the ordinary; the complexities of a father and son relationship, a husband and wife who seem almost estranged from one another in the same household and efforts to try to mend the unsaid yet heavily felt.

The play keeps you entranced, intrigued from start to finish. You become concerned for the characters’ wellbeing because it is easy to identify with each of them and their individual struggles. The lines of the play read like a symphony, but the silent moments, what is not said, are equally as powerful and moving. This is a beautiful, powerful story told by actors that own their characters and every moment they are on the stage.



Mark Taper Forum is located at 135 N. Grand Ave., ?Los Angeles. For more information, visit centertheatregroup.org.