|WikiProject Theatre||(Rated B-class, Mid-importance)|
Hello. This article offers a wonderfully well-written, intelligent explanation of the play. My hat is off to whoever wrote it. What I would question, however, having seen the play last night, is the claim that the adoptive family was neither abusive nor dysfunctional. Children (and even adults) have a real psychological need which is sometimes called "mirroring," which these parents didn't provide at all.
The comedic effect of the play revolves almost entirely around their stubborn, inventive ways of never "getting" what the son was about, and of reducing his experience to their terms--not considering that his life's events had (and should have) their own, separate meaning to him. Whether they hypothetically could have done so is questionable; thus for me at least, the question of abuse doesn't come up. Another whole set of terms would be needed to describe this type of scenario; a play is even better.
The foster parents' generosity and willingness to sacrifice for the boy were undeniable. But if one has spent any amount of time around adolescents, or if one remembers one's own teenage years, I think it would be obvious that the son's frustration at not being "seen" would be enormous. His only male friend is hardly better at it than his family; his employer at first gives some perceptive attention, but then withdraws it and ultimately exploits and degrades him for years. The potential girlfriend character seems ready to accept him as he is, but he withdraws from her rather than face everyone else's judgment.
In modern U.S. pop culture terms, this young man might have felt "trapped among aliens"--if only he had access to a popular culture. But he is completely isolated, with no way to identify for himself what is missing from his life. Some amount of support for a child's independent personality is necessary in order for that recognition to occur. What this boy got was just not enough for him to pass through adolescence with any feeling of assurance that he would be able to find his own way in the world. And so, for many years, he did not do so.
To us as onlookers it may seem as if the young man loses perspective on his family and becomes just a walking complaint. He seems aware of himself only as someone who has been unfairly held back from belonging to the human race. But that is just the symptom, the surface layer. It, like the play itself in my view, is entirely based on a severe dysfunction which centers in the family. DSatz 13:34, 4 March 2007 (UTC)
Removed "note" and put it into discussion area
This doesn't belong in the head section. So removed it here.