Of late, the Kennedy Center is showing signs of coming to its dramatic senses. First, it made the Eisenhower Theater home to Ivo van Hove’s stunning revival of “A View From the Bridge.” Then it held open the center doors for Fiasco Theater’s exceptionally inventive “Into the Woods.” Now, in an indication that these selections might not have been flukes, another high-achieving production arrives on the Potomac: Richard Nelson’s gently captivating trilogy, “The Gabriels.”
The trio of plays, presented in the center’s warmly commodious upstairs Theater Lab, is subtitled “Election Year in the Life of One Family.” For those of you who’d rather spend a day pulling lint off sweaters than another moment reliving the campaign of 2016, fear not. Politics is a mere backdrop for the events of “The Gabriels,” which are set in a Rhinebeck, N.Y., kitchen on three days, in March, September and on election night 2016. What’s at stake as the Gabriels prepare and cook three meals, in real time, cuts much closer and with far more basic decency to the life you and I live than anything that was chewed on, shrilly, relentlessly, in the public sphere last year.