Over the course of his recent association with Plan-B Theatre Company, playwright Matthew Ivan Bennett has anchored his work in such familiar cultural touchstones as Leonardo da Vinci (Di Esperienza), the 1940s internment of Japanese-Americans (Block 8) and Alice in Wonderland (Radio Hour: Alice). In his latest work, he opts for something more personal yet still immediately recognizable.
Inspired by Bennett’s own experience—both with supporting an ailing loved one and with the abandoned cliff dwellings of Mesa Verde National Park—Mesa Verde follows the relationship between two sisters, at first estranged but brought back together when one of them is diagnosed with cancer. Their reunion forces them to come to terms with their feelings about their late mother, and how they believe their lives were shaped by their mother’s lessons. The result is a search for healing that’s both physical and emotional and universally human even if the names and historical facts aren’t part of our common language.