Browsing All posts tagged under »Family«

The Glass Menagerie (Seattle Repertory)

November 27, 2012


Seattle Repertory’s performance of Tennessee William’s semi-autobiographical “The Glass Menagerie” directed by Braden Abraham is an intimate, thoughtful view into dysfunctional family Americana at its best. It tells the story of the Wingfield family struggling to deal with life in the wake of abandonment by its patriarch. Though absent in body, the father’s presence is never far from the family’s thoughts, as his portrait is hung prominently in their home, an ever-present reminder of their rejection. Told primarily through the eyes of the troubled and restless son, Tom Wingfield, played by the emotive Ben Huber who bears a striking likeness to Adam Levine of Maroon 5 fame, Menagerie compels us to bear witness to a family overwhelmed by the challenges of transitioning to modern society, instead opting to each live in a fantasy denial of reality.

We see the mother, Amanda Wingfield (Suzanne Bouchard) a tragic aging southern belle unwilling or unable to adjust to her economic decline, clinging desperately to antiquated southern belle ideals and values in a world foreign to them. She is the stranger in a strange land. Bouchard succeeds wildly in her heartrending portrayal of a deeply conflicted woman out of touch with the times, staunchly defending the way things used to be and generally being a busybody and nag to her children. She is paradoxically unable to accept her children for who they are and yet willing to sacrifice her own pride suffering through the humiliation of being forced to sell subscriptions over the phone out of love for them. At times she is stunningly cruel to them, like in telling Laura who is dressed up for her gentleman caller that this is the prettiest that she will ever be or by complaining that why can’t she and her brother be like normal people. Is it out of love that she seeks to manipulate her children for their own perceived benefit or out of some vain attempt to re-live her own life through them?

How to Write a New Book for the Bible (Seattle Repertory)

January 25, 2012


The Seattle Repertory presents the world premiere of Bill Cain’s latest work, How to Write a New Book for the Bible – a moving and candid personal exploration of parent-child relationships and finding peace in the midst of suffering and death. “How to” invites you into the most familiar of places, the family home; yet does so in a fresh, deeply poignant and humorous manner. Bill describes the play as “joyous” and celebrates the fullness of humanity, its peaks and valleys, while discovering sacred moments even within the remembrances of the minutest of acts. It is a wild emotional rollercoaster ride, through the heart, drama and faith of the Cain family; honestly portrayed, complete with imperfections, quirks and an unalterable love for one another.

Unabashed, Bill Cain treks boldly into the arena of drama which is the family, draws us into the frustration, joy and absurdity which is family life and makes us care. It cannot be any easy thing to write such a deeply personal revealing play, but I was pleasantly surprised by how he masterfully integrated faith and family, in such a manner that is so accessible to all. He successfully navigates the razor’s edge between religion and entertainment, the joys and heartbreaks of family life, and the reality of aging and facing death. He does so without backing away from the edge, overly sanitizing it or becoming preachy. He delightfully portrays a family of faith not as stoic automatons, whitewashed saints or joyless ascetics, but full on flesh and blood, wonderfully flawed emotional beings, who at moments are angered, frustrated and make mistakes, while laughing, crying and even cursing without losing sight that God is found in midst of their family story.