A unique, intense one-actor play opens tonight at Mockingbird on Main, 320 Main St., Davenport.

One-Off Theatrical Productions will present “Apples in Winter” by Jennifer Fawcett for four performances Jan. 20-28 at The Mockingbird. It focuses on the struggling Miriam, played by Kathryn Graham.

Twenty-two years ago, Miriam’s son, Robert, committed a horrible crime while in the grips of withdrawal. It was violent and terrifying and resulted in the deaths of two teenagers who did not deserve to die in such a violent and terrifying way, according to a synopsis.

“Apples in Winter” stars Kathryn Graham of Moline.

Robert was caught, tried, and convicted of first-degree murder and has been sitting on death row ever since. In seven hours, the state will execute him. As is the tradition, Robert is granted a last meal. His request: a slice of his mother’s apple pie.

“This is a play about monsters and the mothers of monsters. And about how we care for each other,” the summary says. “And about how to make a really good apple pie.”

A 2021 review at broadwayworld.com said the play doesn’t shy away from the toughest questions:

  • Was Robert born bad — or did she raise him wrong?
  • How is it possible to love a person capable of evil?
  • What was the shocking crime that led to Robert’s death sentence?
  • And why is an apple pie the best way to say goodbye?

The review said “Apples in Winter” is “a powerhouse one-woman play that will stir your heart but also surprisingly, make you laugh out loud, as it explores the ideas of mercy, motherhood and madness.”

The Mockingbird production, directed by Eric Teeter, will be performed at 7:30 p.m. Jan. 20, 21, 27 and 28.

Graham has acted at Playcrafters in Moline, and directed the Barn Theatre production of “Sylvia” this past fall.

“It has a lot of depth, because Miriam has experienced years and years of loneliness and sadness,” Kathryn Graham told Local 4 recently.

“It’s about facing reality and taking responsibility,” she said. “It’s also about a mother’s unconditional and undying love for her son, and apple pie.”

Teeter gave her the script before COVID, and Graham said she saw a lot of her own mother in Miriam, and her hardships.

“I was really drawn to Miriam. I thought, this is really going to be impossible, but I’ll give it a shot,” she said. “It really helps you get out of yourself. It is dark; it has some humor. She really, really feels deeply. She’s sad, but she wants to find that happiness that she’s always wanted.

Though she is baking on the Davenport stage, Graham had never made a pie from scratch in her life. But just as she’s learned to express the character of Miriam with all of her love and emotion, so has she learned to make a yummy dessert, her bio says.

Graham is a Moline resident fairly new to community theater. After years of working behind the scenes with students at Moline High School, she did makeup and costuming and set design, finding that her real love was directing.

She has had the opportunity to play onstage at Playcrafters Barn Theatre as Penny in “You Can’t Take it With You,” and as Miss Marple in “A Murder is Announced.” She has most recently directed “Sylvia” at Playcrafters (in fall 2022) and will be directing “Almost, Maine” next fall.

Admission to the Mockingbird is “pay what you can,” and you can find more information on the theater website HERE.