Home. The word alone conjures up images of safety and a lack of surprise. Not so in Williamstown Theatre Festival’s thoroughly enjoyable production of “Home” by David Storey. In his text, the playwright explores the question of how we define our home, be it our physical house or the country we live in.
WHERE: Williamstown Theatre Festival, Rte. 2, Williamstown, Mass.
WHEN: Through Sunday
HOW MUCH: $59-$50
MORE INFO: (413) 596-3400
But the show is more than a mere treatise on the definition of “home” — it is a history lesson on how the British reacted to the redefinition of their country after World War II. It examines the confusion they must have felt at the displacement of their identity as “the British Empire.”
The two leading characters, Harry (Philip Goodwin) and Jack (Richard Easton), begin the play by meeting in a park where they talk of many things. They speak of the problem people have in communicating, and display the problem in their own conversation, which lurches about in non sequiturs. They make a case for the location of the actual Garden of Eden and remember dead relatives and do magic tricks, one topic ricocheting off another. You begin to wonder where this park is and who these people really are, and you begin to question how they met in the first place.
Two women enter the park after the men have left: Marjorie (Dana Ivey) and Kathleen (Roberta Maxwell). Kathleen has shoes on that are several sizes too small, because, she tells us, “they” took away her other shoes, which had laces. Marjorie seems nicely put together until it is revealed that the umbrella she carries to guard against impending rain has holes in it. The women, like the men, have no logical discourse and do not respond to each other in a rational way. It becomes quite clear, then, where they actually reside.
The second act introduces a wrestler, Alfred (C.J. Wilson). “They took a piece of his brain,” says Marjorie, “ . . . and threw it in the dust bin.”
The four main actors do a hilarious riff on a television show they have seen the previous night, entitled “Up the Amazon,” where a native in a loin cloth prepares breakfast. His “pancakes on a log” are much discussed with a great deal of sexual innuendo, as is his “small canoe.”
A perfect foil
Goodwin, as Harry, is a perfect foil for Easton’s expansive Jack, who came to the park because he “followed little girls.” Ivey is gloriously British as a put-down artist of the first water, and Maxwell is superb as a giggly gamine. C.J. Wilson makes the most of his role as a former wrestler still attracted to violence but psychologically unable to pursue it.
The gorgeous set by Tobin Ost is a perfectly put-together park with a brick wall covered in ivy (to keep the world out or the people in?) and two bay-windowed buildings, lit beautifully by Rui Rita for the sunset scenes.