A drama about the Prodigal Son and his non-prodigal brother, examining the question, Why be good? A classic conflict revised.
The prodigal is an aging bad-boy filmmaker who’s made a fortune and a major critical reputation with “edgy” films of violence and sex. With the popular response to 9/11 being an ever greater need for escapism, resulting in an increasingly crude American pop culture dominating both here and abroad, the prodigal is more successful than ever---yet he finds himself depleted. Also depleted is his older brother, the “good brother,” a social worker who’s burned out cleaning up after the prodigal’s social debris: He sees himself being about damage control, which in this tinderbox world is essential, while his prodigal brother is about damage creation, thus contributing to the world’s volatility. The prodigal, however, claims he’s “just giving people what they want.” In effect, after a lifetime of warring, they have knocked each other out. The play’s major dramatic question becomes: Can they achieve the peace that, at midlife, they both desperately need? Can they revise this classic conflict? Acting as the pivotal figure is the good brother’s wife, a former theatre director now a litigator, who pushes their rote argument into nuance---and synthesis.
The Prologue (entire):|
Prodigal Son: “I’m home…..”
Father: “My son!!”
Good Brother: (mouthing) “Fuck."
* MEMOIR. About my mother and me, how Clytemnestra and Electra made peace. To echo in form but not conclusion Franz Kafka’s Letter to His Father. Another classic conflict revised.
Opening sentence: “This is a story of a tragedy with a happy ending.”|
* PLAY --- Decisions, Decisions, about our turbulent inner lives post-9/11, dramatized with alter-egos.
* PERFORMANCE PIECE --- Not Funny, about a recovering comedian, and The Smile Fades, about a woman who sobers up. A post-9/11 piece.