Fleeing a troubled recent past, Archer returns home to Central Oregon amidst a time of confusion. Intent upon asserting his trans nature to a family who still thinks of him as “Angela,” he hesitates in the face of his ill father’s transition from life to death, and the very certainty of the local Ponderosas shattered by climate change-induced decay -- the world of his childhood is disintegrating quickly. As he wrestles with voicing his identity, Archer must contend with his grandmother’s gleeful matchmaking, his father’s self-destructive sugar binges, and his bereaved mother’s anger. He finds solace in a relationship with Owen, a sympathetic forestry student, and is able to gain some peace during their nightly trysts under the trees. The year wheels around, ghosts walk, and families break apart and re-form in this dreamy, magically realistic tale. Set under a cold, clear, end-of-year sky, and beneath the protective branches of a matriarchal pine, MJ Kaufman’s Sagittarius Ponderosa is a moving story about identity, family, and the passage of time, told in a voice that is poetic, delicate, and down to earth.
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