Saturday, October 16, 2010

Crimes of the Heart by Beth Henley (1981)

Summary:  The Magrath sisters have returned to their family home after youngest sister Babe has been arrested for shooting her husband.  They revisit old arguments (and old boyfriends) and seem to argue that, though we age and move apart, the way we interact with our relatives never really changes.

Thoughts:  Another play about a family that fights, but also loves each other very much.  While the catalyst for the reunion (Babe's newly minted murderous tendencies) is certainly flashy, the interactions of the Magrath sisters are fairly banal.  Additionally, we can't hate Babe too much because her husband had been abusing her for years.  However, additional dramatic tension is added by the fact that Babe has been having an affair with a fifteen year-old black boy (and there are pictures!  Scandalous!)  Though the murder and subsequent meetings with the lawyer are certainly important to the advancement of the plot, this play is fundamentally about the relationship between sisters.  It seems obvious from the outset that Babe is not going to spend any time in jail, but worrying about it gives the sisters something to do besides fight with each other.

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