I really enjoy reading plays, but I firmly believe (with some exceptions) that most plays are better experienced as performances. While I enjoyed\, reading it was more of a challenge than I’ve had with other plays. For one thing, the play is highly physical and almost a little violent, making much of what you read stage directions. In one section, the directions went on for so long that I felt lost in what I was supposed to be imagining versus what was actually on the page. Looking back, youtube would have been a good solution to that little issue. Though I was moved by the development of Helen and Annie’s relationship and was touched by the final scene, I didn’t feel very connected to it because I had struggled so much with reading the action in the stage directions. It felt like because I wasn’t able to really witness Helen’s development, I didn’t feel the way I was supposed to feel when she has the breakthrough at the water pump.
Furthermore, I thought the weird flashbacks with Annie’s brother were unnecessary to the plot. I think because it was so easy to see Helen’s struggles, Gibson felt he needed to include some for Annie so we could root for her just as much. The thing is that Annie was already really interesting without knowing anything about her past, and I didn’t need flashbacks with her brother to feel more in touch with her.
All in all, it’s a good story and truly moving, but I think it has to be a better one on stage. And on that note, bless those actresses who take on all that physical acting.