The Homecoming Live Performance
ENGL 338 – Modern Drama
The Homecoming- Live Performance
The major difference in seeing the play live versus reading the play was the central focus on characters. While reading The Homecoming, I felt as though the main plot was surrounding Ruth and Teddy’s relationship and arrival at Max’s house. It seemed as though Ruth was this flirtatious individual who everyone was focused on. However, in the live performance, Max stole the show. He was a very rough character in that he was nearly cruel to Lenny, Sam, and Joey. Max was the driving force behind each movement on the stage. Obviously, Max was fairly important in the text, due to his relationship to his sons, but in the performance, he was much more involved in the business on stage. His movements were directly that of an unloved elderly man. It was much easier to sympathize with Max’s character when seeing how desperate he was live.
As far as the director’s interpretation goes, I felt as though his depiction of Sam was spot on. I was always more on Sam’s side when it came to any argument or point he had made toward his brother or nephew’s. I felt as though Sam’s character was very passive, yet he clearly had the strongest sense of morals among the family.
Joey’s character was rather needy in the live performance, in the same way as the written text. Joey was almost a background character, without much to do with the plot at all. Except of course, his uncomfortable love scene with Ruth on stage. That was the most exciting part of the play for me.
Lenny’s character was very interesting; he did a fine job of displaying his interest in Ruth as well as in Teddy’s academic achievements. On stage, he was much more forceful than he was in the text. His mannerisms on stage were harsh at times. And the way he interacted with Max’s character was more violent and disdainful than I imagined while reading the play.
Teddy’s character was passive as well; he didn’t much mind that his wife was leaving him to stay with his mentally abusive family. The cheese roll incident was funnier on stage than it was when I was reading it.
For the live performance, the actress who played Ruth was an African American woman. I would have assumed reading the play that she was white. It added a level to the play in the sense that because she was an African American, she may have been more apt to delve into the live of prostitution given the year the play was written. It was not common at the time for white men to marry black women. Perhaps due to that uncommon nature, Ruth’s behavior would not be as harshly judged.
Overall, the actors stayed pretty true to their characters. Max, again, was the main focus of the live performance, rather than Ruth and Teddy’s relationship.