Tuesday, February 02, 2010

POW! (Play Of The Week)

by Lucy Caldwell

Depression. Anxiety. Confusion. Guilt. These are just some of the powerful feelings lurking beneath the understated dialogue in this brand-new play about an Irish family in crisis.

The play begins with the Murdoch clan--parents David and Phyllis, and daughters Poppy and Clover--nervously awaiting the arrival of a third daughter, Lori, who is heading home from college following a suicide attempt. Predictably, Mom and Dad aren't sure they can face her, their two younger children are a tad jittery because their big sister is coming home (and after being under the care of a psychiatrist, no less), and, in general, everyone is ready to explode at everyone else at the drop of the proverbial hat.

Forced laughter and stiff upper lips abound until (and, of course, even after) Lori walks through the door. Before long, she is reuniting, painfully, with her kid sisters, her emotionally repressed Dad, and--most importantly--her Mom, who has scenes with her oldest and most beleaguered child that might, just might, break your heart.

What is to blame for Lori's breakdown? WHO is to blame? Possibilities are hinted at, nothing more. Maybe it was the loneliness she felt attending a school so far from home; maybe it was something else. One of the points of the play, of course, is that a girl's spirit has been broken, perhaps irreparably, and even she doesn't know why. All she can do now is try to put the pieces back together with the help of the people who love her the most. Her return home marks but the first tentative step on the long, rutted road to recovery--but what a crucial step it is.

(There are several two-character scenes featuring various members of the family, as well as some excellent monologues for Phyllis and Lori. An Irish dialect is optional. Well worth taking a look!)

Cast: 1M, 4W

Recommended by: Stu


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