It is the summer of 1973. The Collins family, black and middle class, live downstairs from the Bellers, a single parent Jewish family, in a duplex on the southernmost tip of Los Angeles’ Fairfax district. Like the nation they live in, both families are in a state of flux and uncertain of what the future holds. The personal upheavals experienced by both families and a neighbor are set against the backdrop of Watergate, busing, the sexual revolution, feminism, and America’s perennial drama of racial tension. And all of these issues find their way behind the walls of the beige duplex on a quiet street called Orange Grove Avenue.
Questions of fidelity, deception, and the search for a true definition of “family” haunt the residents of the duplex. They know that the courage to ask the hard questions might not leave them enough courage to cope with the answers.
Irma Collins is the planet around which everyone revolves. She’s a wife and mother. She’s her brilliant live-in nephew’s life counselor as well as the babysitter for the Bellers’ 10-year-old daughter. She’s also the daily coffee klatsch partner of her 73-year-old neighbor Mr. Saperstein, who has adopted the Collins as his new family without exactly having asked them first. Irma’s capacity for taking care of others seems limitless, yet behind her patient smile lays a host of unmet needs and a secret. As Irma plays “pillar of strength” to all in her orbit, her small world begins to give way under the weight of unmet expectations and the fear that life is passing her by.
We Can See Today is about a time when reality was a member of the family that you couldn’t just ignore.
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