Excerpt from a review by LARRY KUBERT For the Lincoln Journal Star Jan 20, 2019
As the slivers of Paul Elliott’s drama “Making Sweet Tea, and Other Secrets” deftly fall away, it exposes a world of humor, as well as hurt, pain and intolerance.
Elliott’s play is one of six plays chosen for the 2018 NewPlayFest sponsored by the American Association of Community Theatres, with Lincoln Community Playhouse picking “Sweet Tea” for a world premiere on its stage.
Set in the rural South, the two-hour piece initially focuses upon the relationship between an older pair of rather provincial sisters . While Dottie is gently homespun, Ruth a bit more craggy. But both can show their flinty sides when necessary.
Their rural solitude is interrupted when Amber, a young girl beaten and battered, is brought by the local sheriff for the sisters to hide from her abusive and powerful father. A rebellious teen is enough for the elder sisters to handle, but then they learn that Amber is transgender.
What follows is a well-disciplined peeling away of prejudice and intolerance, exposure of abuse, anger, and edification of societal bigotry and preconception.
Elliott liberally sprinkles humor throughout the play, which works as a needed release from the piece’s seriousness. The play’s final two scenes provide a bounty of twists and turns that keep the audience glued to their seats.