Theater Review

Dust Is Strange In All The Right Places

NCTC launches its sophomore season with a comedy about a mom, a daughter, and a chimp.

By Laura Dannen May 14, 2010

Daughter Clara (Joyner) terrorizes mom Shirley (Thone) as a chimp. Or a prehistoric squirrel. We forget. Photo courtesy Chris Bennion.

We’ve all met these moms before: the ones who wear cutoff jean shorts and low-cut tops to bake sales. Who want to talk boys and drink beers with their teenage daughters. Who make sure there’s ice cream in the freezer, but forget to pay the rent. What, never met her? There’s one making the rounds at ACT Theatre right now. Amy Thone plays an endearing train-wreck of a matron in New Century Theatre Company’s bittersweet comedy, On the Nature of Dust. From the laptop of playwright Stephanie Timm comes a story about a mother who can’t take care of herself, and her 16-year-old daughter Clara (Brenda Joyner) who’s sick of being responsible. Clara’s itching to go abroad for her junior year of high school—“to form her own identity, which is the nature of adolescence,” Timm told us recently. “Her mother won’t let her go abroad, and then Clara turns into a chimpanzee. She devolves into more and more primitive species, and this really forces her mom to grow up and figure out how to take care of her.”

Dust is strange in all the right places, touching in others, and funny throughout. It’s a strong start for fledgling NCTC’s sophomore season.

On the Nature of Dust runs May 5-30 at ACT Theatre. Read more about New Century’s powerhouse debut season here.

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