Your Children Will Follow
Grace Caroline Curley
Sacred Heart University Repertory Acting Company
Greenside @ Riddles Court
It’s often easy to overlook the solid, steadfast surety of an honest and simple family drama. Your Children Will Follow doesn’t opt for fancy tricks or experimental wall breaks. Rather it’s a character piece that plays out what seems at first familiar, but then unravels into a more thoughtful place.
The play tells the tale of a Lutheran family, where the father and son are devout believers, while the eldest daughter, Liz, is an angry, atheistic tearaway. In the middle is the more evenly tempered Phoebe, who is stuck at a crossroads of faith and family, as she is also tempted by the sweet and amiable courtings of a boy from college.
It’s ultimately the story of a religious family with secrets and an insular, patriarchal father, a family broken and separated ideologically by faith, outlook and by mixed loyalties. Grace Caroline Curley’s play shows remarkable restraint in unspooling this mess of familial issues, and while there’s an archetypicality to the characters, under Jerry Goehring’s direction, none feels like caricature. Equally, whilst religion plays a heavy role in their lives, it’s neither vilified nor heroised. Rather, this is a play about people navigating the complexities of their love of each other, as well as their own needs in figuring out who they are.
There are some missteps, such as the welcome but largely unnecessary inclusion of both a live guitar accompaniment as well as projected nature or biblical images with incomprehensibly whispered voices with ambient sounds. These images are clearly supposed to reflect the mindstate of the characters after a scene, but it distracts rather than helps, and often drowns out or discords with the guitar music.
There’s also a brevity to the piece, and it feels like the end appears suddenly, almost as if there are scenes missing from the back half of the play. One character references days having passed at one point, but this itself feels like a missed opportunity for what could have been a longer play with more time spent on the less heavily featured characters.
Reviewer: Graeme Strachan