|Written by||Lanford Wilson|
Home Free! is a 1964 one-act play by American playwright Lanford Wilson. It was first produced at Caffe Cino, a coffeehouse and small theatre run by Joseph Cino, a pioneer of the Off-Off-Broadway theatre movement. It is one of Wilson's earliest plays.
There are two major characters, Lawrence and Joanna, as well as Edna and Claypone, who are referred to by the characters but who have no lines and are not mentioned in the Dramatis personae or in the stage directions, which implies that they are fictional characters in the minds of Lawrence and Joanna. It is implied, but never explicitly stated, that Lawrence and Joanna are brother and sister; it is also implied that they are having an incestuous relationship, which has resulted in Joanna's pregnancy.
Lawrence begins the play, delivering a lesson on astronomy, in particular the Pleiades. In the course of describing the effects of universal expansion (see Hubble's law) he becomes excited and jumps around the room, imitating the stars being flung in every direction. Eventually he gets tired and starts muttering to himself about Joanna's return from the grocery store, and what she has in the 'Surprise Box,' a brightly colored box that Lawrence and Joanna use to give surprise gifts to each other.
Joanna enters in a huge panic, having been seen by some frightening 'outside' entity called Pruneface, Wienerface or both. She is pregnant. They engage in a number of strange conversations seemingly at random, in a playful manner. Joanna tells of an encounter she had on a subway with a college-age boy, and Lawrence accuses her of having sex with him. They play various games, including one where Joanna is a queen and Lawrence commands Edna and Claypone to fetch her various things. All of a sudden, however, he halts the game with the line: "You're not a queen, you're a whore."
Eventually Joanna collapses, seemingly unable to walk. She screams at Lawrence to get a doctor, but he is afraid of the outside world and refuses to go outside, preferring to send Edna instead. Her pains (possibly the result of pre-eclampsia) persist, and eventually she falls, unmoving, on the bed. Lawrence leans over her and begs her to return, falling into a futile stutter as the play ends.
Lawrence (and, to a lesser degree, Joanna) is characterized by extreme agoraphobia and fear of the outside world. He is suspicious of everything that Joanna tells him about outside and, at the end of the play, refuses to go out, even to save Joanna's life.
It is obvious that Lawrence believes totally in the existence of Edna and Claypone, and for the most part Joanna seems to share this belief. However, when Lawrence sends Edna to fetch the doctor, Joanna screams, "No, Lawrence, you go! YOU GO!!!' This implies that Joanna knows that Edna doesn't really exist and can't fetch the doctor, and has merely been pretending for Lawrence's sake.
- Caffe Cino Pictures: Lanford Wilson: The Mozart from Missouri
- Williams, p. 17
- Barnett, p. 4
- Barnett, Gene A. (1987). Lanford Wilson. Boston: Twayne Publishers. ISBN 080577498X.
- Williams, Philip Middleton (1993). A Comfortable House: Lanford Wilson, Marshall W. Mason and the Circle Repertory Theatre. Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland & Company, Inc. ISBN 0899508367.