MISS BEGOTTEN by Kevin Arthur Land, directed by Jeff Santa Barbara, with Maureen Dwyer. Presented by Solstice Productions at Artword (75 Portland). Runs to November 17, Wednesday-Saturday 8 pm, matinees Wednesday 1 pm and Saturday 2 pm. $20-$25, stu/srs $15-$20. 416-408-2783. Rating: NN
a tale we too frequently hear about child incest describes the young victim joining the abusive parent in a conspiracy to "protect" the other parent from hurt.That pattern is at the centre of Miss Begotten, Kevin Land's play based on the life of Hamilton sexual abuse counsellor and poet Diane Esther. Undoubtedly well-intentioned, the stage piece is weak both in the writing and the presentation.
Maureen Dwyer plays the main figure, the daughter of a violent, bullying father and a fearful mother, forced into sexual acts and convinced that she's saving her mother from her father's wrath. Dwyer also takes on various other characters, among them classmates, a teacher and various employers.
But the storytelling is repetitious, without dramatic tension and unnecessarily preachy, and the acting has an unrelenting sameness. Dwyer dons a hat for the father and an apron for the mother, but her voice, body and characterizations are external sketches and pretty much the same no matter who she's playing.
There are moments in the play's two-plus hours that have sparks -- a brief scene about the outtakes from the family album, and Diane's confrontation with her co-dependent parents at the end -- but Miss Begotten is a misconceived piece of theatre.