Four old friends (long estranged)Â sit shivah togetherâ€”in a basementâ€”for an entire week, doing their best to mourn the death of the one man who might have shown them a very different way to behave… but failed to do so.
Mitchell, an assistant librarian and aspiring photographer, struggles to unlock the petrifying rage he has felt toward his now-dead father. Peter, his brother, insists that their father was never more than â€œoccasionally loud,â€ while Aaron, his best friend, just wants to clean out the godforsaken basement they’re all stuck in and move on.
Complicating the situation is return of their long-departed friend David, who has just published a novel based loosely on the childhood adventures of the four blood brothers: a book that reveals a secret Peter and Aaron have kept their entire lives… and that may have killed Mitchell and Peterâ€™s father.
Productions: Gettysburg College (PA, 2005). Workshop and reading: Theater of the First Amendment (VA, 2004). Readings: National Theatre (DC, 2004); Baltimore Playwrights Festival (MD, 2002). Recognition: Larry Neal Award for Best Play (DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities, 2002).
About the Play
Of virtually everything I’ve ever writtenâ€”decades of work in a variety of genres, from fiction and non-fiction to poetry and dramaâ€”this play is undoubtedly the most heart-felt. I wrote it, quite simply, for the four young men (myself included) who lived through a very different version of the life that informs it.Â Those were (and still are) some of the most important friendships in my life. We shared a childhood together. My stories are their stories, and they needed to be told not just for me, but for all of us. I wrote what I wrote as much for them as for myself.
I like to think of this story as a mechanism designed to propel the main character, Mitchell, out of the basement of his own heart and up into the world of social connections and interactions with others: to help him, as the psychologists and criminologists say, rejoin society.Â Inasmuch as I think Mitchell represents a kind of basement-dwelling perpetual adolescence I have observed in many young men too old to still be stuck that way, however, this play also tries to generalize from my own lived experience to a larger idea about how one escapes from one’s birth home.
We inherit sins from our parents. How can we make sure they don’t haunt us our whole lives long?