Where We're Born by Lucy Thurber
How fast and how far do you have to run to escape the gravity of your home?
This is one question that echoes throughout playwright Lucy Thurber's work. Like any good writer, Thurber has been at it for a while; slowly, as the world has been catching up with her, Dramatists published a bunch of her play in one lump. They're all good; among them, Where We're Born stands out.
It's about a tiny corner of Massachusetts, where the local pastimes include drinking heavily, screwing around on your mate and pointing fingers at the other cuckolded drunks. Lilly is a local girl made good, well, relatively so, in that she's incredibly smart and attending a good college; she returns for a break in the fall to her beloved cousin Tony, his douchey pals and his long-time girlfriend Franky.
There's something ominous in the air what will all the bingeing and random fisticuffs; and though Lilly is recognizably changed, she slips easily back into the patterns of the place. She surprises everyone with her saucy mouth and reported escapades with men of a somewhat darker skin tone, but surpasses everyone's expectations in seducing Franky. From there, the small space and tiny cast of players fall into incestuous rhythms, cementing and dissolving the bonds between them in an effort to cement or dissolve their ties to the difficult place they call home, once and for all.
The environment of this Massachusetts hill town, one that haunts, tackles, and drags its denizens back into cycles of boredom-induced ugliness, sticks to the brain. Its story, whose plot points could easily spill into melodrama, Thurber keeps uncomfortable, dangerous, and, maybe most disturbing of all, believable. (Her talent for natural dialogue -- and her ability to electrify it -- helps.) Try it.
Cast: 2 W, 3 M
Scenes/Monologues: Both contemplative and highly volatile scenes for M/W and W/W. All characters in their 20s. Half-poetical monologues for a young man.
Recommended by: Matthew