Friday, July 29, 2011

Our Fathers

Carl Sarder's Our Fathers didn't get to do a full run in tech. No, sitting in the audience for the brief rehearsal I can attest to having seen them do maybe ten percent of the script. So the premier of the play, which I just witnessed, was just about as much a surprise to me as it was to the patrons in attendance.

The play is a mosaic look at fatherhood. Touting the largest cast of the evening with five actors, each character embodies a different facet of or approach to fatherhood. One man is focused on the education of his child, pontificating about the beauties and complexities of nature and the human body, compelling his child to learn. One man treats his baby as a pal, musing absentmindedly about the nature of the toothpaste bottle, nursing his can of cheap beer as his baby nurses a bottle. One man speaks of the harsh and scary "out there" we so pervasively fear. One speaks of his former spouse, mourning a loss. And one admits, in spite of so much dread and expectation, not to regard his offspring as a ball and chain, but a source of viable growth and perspective, at one point saying, "The thing I learned from you is that what I thought was a cage is just another room." It's a really lovely collage that, even without very much of a narrative, held attention throughout. It's the pleasure of being a fly on the wall, witness to a series of confessions, discoveries and admissions.

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