The home front

19 Apr

Ken Prestininizi’s play, As American As had a reading in a fluorescent-lit room with no windows at Brown in Providence tonight. The sealed and claustrophobic environs were weirdly suited to the play. It’s a wonderful play set in the heartland (what does that mean, exactly?– always conjured images of scary interior wastes to me) in Deerborne, Michigan. Basically it’s about a US family setting up a “black site” in their basement, after heavy persuasion from agents Frank and Frank. If they want to see their son Tommy alive again, they need to agree to “extraordinary rendition”— to the domestic basement. The play’s brilliant premise (terror starts at home) is certainly borne out by historical accounts of children being trained to spy on “unpatriotic” parents in Cambodia, in Nazi Germany and in Cultural Revolution China. It delivers on this promise with an unheimlich and chilling vision of the family as that which shuts its doors on the queer, the threatening, the stranger, and on the way in which the best in us can be put to the worst uses. In the light of renewed debates on censorship in the US theatre (either overt, as in the recent high school VOICES OF IRAQ reading, the pulling from production of MY NAME IS RACHEL CORRIE at NYTW and other venues—— or covert as in the killing power of the NY times to simply ignore non-schematic plays) it will be interesting to see if this excellent and extremely sharp play gets to see the light of day, or if it languishes in its own critical and popular “black site”.

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One Response to “The home front”

  1. Rick Massimo May 8, 2007 at 2:42 pm #

    “Unheimlich”?

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