Ordinary People – Clayton Community Theatre
Beautifully written, poignant and honest in its presentation, Ordinary People looks unblinkingly at profound depths of denial and guilt, the pain of acceptance and the path toward redemption and healing. There are powerful themes of alienation, psychological self-discovery, and coming of age.
A boating accident has claimed the life of Bucky – the eldest son in the Jarrett family – and the simple roadmap of “ordinary” family life has been effectively obliterated. The struggle to cross the gulf created by this tragedy is the central challenge for Bucky’s younger brother, Conrad, and his parents, Beth and Calvin – a challenge that threatens to destroy what’s left of the crumbling family. Conrad is riddled with grief and misplaced guilt. The mother is remote, the father is confused and emotional.
Looming over virtually every scene of the play is the absent son, a reminder that extraordinary demands are the essence of “ordinary” life and indeed are the litmus test that defines us all.
Audiences may be familiar with the 1980 movie of Ordinary People, a four-time Oscar-winner by actor-director Robert Redford. The novel and screenplay were adapted to a stage production by playwright Nancy Gilsenan.