Director Ferrell, a DTC company member and gifted choreographer, moves all these actors around the large, thrust-stage configuration at the Wyly (on a gigantic set by John Arnone) with an eye for where the audience's focus will shift at any given moment. A crying jag by one of the characters erupts way upstage, "outside" the walls of the mansion, which is an inspired touch. And when the Whataburger girl (Katherine Bourne) makes her late second-act entrance, Ferrell places her downstage, with her back to much of the audience, so that we can clearly see the faces of each and every Gordon as they react to the babbling of this teenage interloper. Brilliant stuff and it only enhances Foote's comedy.

Other plays will come to mind as you watch and listen to Dividing the Estate: Shakespeare's King Lear, Lillian Hellman's Little Foxes, Tennessee Williams' Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, even Tracy Letts' August: Osage County, which debuted in New York the same year Estate did (2007).

Stick it: Matriarch Stella Gordon (June Squibb) points out flaws in her kids' money plans in DTC's fine production of Horton Foote's Dividing the Estate.
Brandon Thibodeaux
Stick it: Matriarch Stella Gordon (June Squibb) points out flaws in her kids' money plans in DTC's fine production of Horton Foote's Dividing the Estate.


Dividing the Estate continues through April 9 at the Wyly Theatre. Call 214-828-0202.

When it comes to heaps of money, big families, especially Southern ones, often find that drama is the uninvited guest at major family functions. How brilliant of Horton Foote, now being celebrated by Texas audiences who can hear themselves in how he wrote, to bring humor to the table, too. 

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Just had to throw in that weakest link jab for the young actress playing Sissie. Considering she probably had a grand total of 4 lines, one might reasonably conclude that the role is so small that no one could make it a "strong link" without over-acting.