Thank god for the Miracle Theatre. In their unpretentious way, the folks at the Miracle have figured out how to engage their audience in a way that makes a pretty good argument for the continued relevance of community theater. Sonia Flew is a perfect example: Using the mass exodus of children from Cuba into the US during the early 1960s as a launching point, the show both illustrates a fascinating historical situation (the largest mass-migration of "unaccompanied minors" ever recorded in the Western Hemisphere) and draws some interesting parallels between the class-based ardor of Castro's socialist revolutionaries and the patriotic zeal of post-911 America.
The play's central figure is a woman named Sonia (Eva Rotter, in the first act) who left Cuba when she was 15 and relocated to Wisconsin, where she married and had two kids. The first half of the play focuses on Sonia's adult life: Her son Zak has just announced his decision to enlist in the military, and Sonia is none to happy about it. It's obvious that Sonia's reaction to her son's decision is shaped in part by her own childhood, about which she rarely speaks.
The second half of the play goes back in time to the Cuba of 1961, on the eve of Sonia's departure to the United States. Sonia's parents force her to leave; they fear that otherwise she will be swept up in the revolutionary frenzy that has overtaken Cuba. At the end of the play, the adult Sonia must address how her own past has influenced her reaction to her son's decision.
The standout performance here comes from Courtney Davis as Sonia's daughter in the first act and young Sonia in the second: She adeptly conveys the vulnerability of a teenager confronted with her mother's breakdown, then turns around and gives a touching performance as a vibrant young girl caught between her family and her ideals. Randy Patterson's performance as Sonia's husband Daniel jars a bit—there's a total lack of chemistry between Eva Rotter and Peterson, which makes it difficult to understand the dynamic of the relationship between Sonia and Daniel. For the most part, though, the cast renders the material quite affecting, and the show stands out as a fine example of thought-provoking and meaningful local theater.