Thursday, August 29, 2013

Review of Conversations on a Homecoming at Strawdog Theatre Company

Once upon a time I went to a show and it was called Conversations on a Homecoming by Tom Murphy. It was directed by Jonathan Berry. It was about a guy named Michael (Adam Soule) who came back from being an actor in America to his home in Ireland. All of his friends whose names were Tom (Michael Dailey), Junior (Jeff Duhigg), and Peggy (Anita Deely) had been friends for a very long time and he is going to see them at the pub that Missus (Janice O'Neill) owns with Anne (Elee Schrock, who wasn't the understudy but came in at the last minute) who is her relation. Liam (Ed Porter) was a man who had been hanging out with the other guys while Michael had been gone. Michael discovers that things are not the same as they were when he left and he has arguments with his friends about how they are so different and why didn't they stay the same as they used to be. It is about getting to know people for a second time even though you already know them. It is about friendship, wanting to start over, and being drunk.

I thought that Tom was a really great character, He was really funny but he was also kind of scary. One time he said, "Oh, how is it being" and he says actor very fahn-cy. It was also funny to me because all of the people on stage were saying "You are so fancy because you are an actor" when actually on stage all of them were actors. And the thing is, I'm not so sure how fancy they actually think they are. I thought Tom was kind of scary because he was almost all the time yelling. At the beginning he seemed pretty nice, but then he started yelling. He was kind of scary then because he was yelling even when he was talking. He was yelling because he was always angry at people. He was angry because they were talking about someone named J.J. who used to be like the leader of them and gave them a lot of inspiration and they really admired him and then he turned into a complete drunk and made a lot of bad decisions. And they discovered that J.J. had been lying to them most of the time. He only had one wife and she was still alive.

Michael was also some of the time yelling, but not as much as Tom. They were always fighting even though they used to be friends when they were kids. He is not a very happy person; his career is not good, and he wishes that his life was better. He comes back to quit being an actor. He's looking to see if he can not have job and just stay with his mother. His mother does not sound like the most nice person. Everyone thinks that he has the most exciting life in the world; they would give anything to be in his place. But the reality is that he didn't really like what he was doing and he didn't really like his life.

Liam was, I think, the character I would not really want to hang out with because he tried to make Michael who already felt bad about his decisions, and regretted them, make him feel even sorrier about his decisions. He wasn't really generous to other people. He actually took a drink from somebody. He treated Anne and Missus like they should repay him and he wanted Anne to be his girlfriend but she was too young, wasn't she?

Junior was a guy who liked to sing a lot and he always wanted Peggy to sing, but the last time she sang was like 10 years ago. 10 years ago is a long time to me because I haven't even been alive that long. He was the one who I think was the nicest of all of the men. He didn't get into any fights or anything. He was just there to have fun. He didn't ruin anything, so that made him a very good character.

I think that all the girls were very nice and they didn't get into any arguments. There were more men and all the men were drunk. Only Peggy was also drunk but she wasn't as drunk as any of the men. Women weren't valued very much in this place even though the women were the people who were actually doing stuff. Like the entire place was run by two women, but the men didn't really appreciate that. And even Peggy, who was there as a customer, was trying to give the men money to help pay for the drinks and they were like, "you're just a woman, I can't take money from you." She was part of the group but they didn't think of her as actually one of their members. Tom is her betrothed, but they are not married yet. I think that is because he is a man and he gets to make the decision and he doesn't really love her so much but she loves him more. That makes me feel very sorry for her because she really loves him but he doesn't love her very much back.

People who would like this show are people who like Ireland, complicated stories, and conversations. It is a good complicated maze to go through where you try to figure out what these characters' relationships are. It teaches you that friendship can be complex.

Photos: Chris Ocken

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