Thursday, October 21, 2010

Icebound by Owen Davis (1923)

Summary:  The Jordan siblings have gathered to await the death of their mother, but it rapidly becomes clear that they are actually eagerly anticipating the reading of her will.  They are all surprised to discover that she has (spitefully) left the sizable family fortune to second-cousin Jane.  The plot thickens when Jane is presented with a letter from Mrs. Jordan that details her dying wish:  for her youngest son Ben to be taken care of--by any means necessary.  Though Ben is a fugitive and widely believed to be "good for nothing" Jane falls in love with him--with some ambiguity about whether this newfound love is due to his charm or her loyalty to Mrs. Jordan.  Ben has some inappropriate relations with another "almost relative" named Nettie, but ultimately ends up proposing to Jane.  The two will live "happily ever after" on the farm and fortune left by Mother Jones.

Thoughts:  The summary of this play is likely more detailed than the actual plot.  No one seems to care that a borderline incestuous marriage is about to take place, nor are they outwardly grieving the death of their family matriarch.  At various points throughout the play, each character displays their propensity for greed at the expense of their relationships with each other.  It is never clear that Jane and Ben actually love one-another, but both seem ready to settle and stay in one place.  Yet another play about a family whose "problems" could likely all be solved...if anyone actually cared enough to solve them.

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