For years, I have been singing the praises of artistic director Tom Holehan, who is at the helm of Square One Theatre Company in Stratford. So well does he know the plays he directs that he nearly always casts them perfectly. However, it is his insightful direction, and his understated signature that make him stand out as a truly gifted director.
Currently, Bruce Graham’s The Outgoing Tide exemplifies Holehan’s skills because he avoids sentimentality, which would have rendered this a melodramatic tearjerker. Instead, we get a realistic face-the-issues approach. Here is a play about a retired man determined to undo any offense he has caused his wife and son in the past. He regrets past mistakes and wants wife and son to understand that he loves them. He has decided to take charge of his responsibilities, deal with his failing memory, albeit in a most unorthodox way. In other words, he is a man with a mission. He wants to make sure that his family is taken care of when he is no longer around.
That, of course, is easier said than done, especially because the family is a highly complex unit.