Homeward Bound by Elliott Hayes
A comedy of modern manners, Bonnie Beachum's daughter is pregnant, her son-in-law may have kidnapped the children, her son's lover arrives to set matters straight and her husband is calmly contemplating suicide.
Includes a foreword by Margaret Atwood
Margaret Atwood writes: "Homeward Bound is a play that pulls the term 'comedy of manners' inside out... a comedy of manners, but with a difference, comedies of manners used to be about love, but this is the late twentieth century, and Homeward Bound is a comedy of manners about death. The machine that winds it up and keeps it going is simple, though outrageous: Bonnie and Glen, two acutely square and respectable parents, have thrown a family dinner for their two adult children and their respective mates, to announce—as it turns out—that Glen is dying of an incurable disease and intends to kill himself...The travel brochures which Bonnie are examining in the opening scene gather a much darker connotation by the closing one..." However, the intention of the evening orbits as each person's immediate concern surfaces: their daughter is pregnant (who is the father?), their son-in-law has kidnaped the children (or has he?), and her son's lover arrives to set matters straight (if he can). Atwood adds, "Elliott Hayes has fashioned a brisk, intricate, deranging and tightly strung play...[his] art is a funhouse mirror, and what we see in it are fragments of ourselves, distorted, grotesque even, but recognizable."
Author's Notes: The first reading reveals a great deal about the musical nature of the play. The timing essentially dictates itself, particularly when two, or more, conversations seem to be going on at the same time.
Given the subject matter, one may be seduced into becoming sentimental, but the play can’t take that. The language is precise and the dialogue is unabashedly epigrammatic in places, so have fun with it. It is also worth noting that Homeward Bound observes the unities and that the effect of the play is cumulative. In fact, a great deal is unresolved and no one voice is ”authoritative”. Of course, Bonnie seems to have the complete picture, but even she is caught up by the events in the end.
Keywords: family, gay couple, death, suicide,
First Produced: 1991 by the Stratford Festival of Canada. Homeward Bound has been produced all over Canada and in the United States, the United Kingdom and in Latvia for the Latvia National Theater.
Genre: Comedy of modern manners
Run time: 90 minutes
Cast Size: 6
Male roles: 4
Female roles: 2
Nick Becham …………….34
Norris Becham-Spanner.. 38
Bonnie Becham ………….65
Guy Thompson …38