This is going to hurt.
The Lanford Wilson-penned Home Free! is meant to – layering deceit, paranoia, incest, mental illness, agoraphobia and death into the lives of siblings Lawrence Brown (Jason Clift) and his pregnant sister Joanna (Maryanne Renzetti).
Kicking off with Lawrence in the midst of a rousing astronomy lesson to imaginary friends Claypone and Edna, the play takes a snapshot of the lonely siblings fabricated and desperate lives, on the fringe of a society that suspects their incestuous relationship. The 45-minute play keeps audiences confused and intrigued while they wait for the plot to turn or the story to take an expected twist, but it never does.
Lawrence’s astrology lesson is ironic considering his crippling agoraphobia limiting his life to the confines of a home he can’t or won’t escape, leaving him to pine over tales of his sister’s “adventures” of when she leaves the house on regular mundane tasks.
If Home Free! sounds dark it is. In fact they may need to invent a new word for this because the oft-overused adjective, doesn’t do this piece justice.
The two actors do however, weaving their way through a challenging play relying heavily on the duo’s performances to do what this play does best, depress. However, therein lies its challenge, at its best, it is not necessarily meant to entertain.
More actor candy than audience candy, home free was how I felt after it concluded and I made it outside the darkness of the theatre and returned to my own life, and that is okay.
This is a testament to the strength of the performances. The challenge of selling a play with little interest in making you feel emotion outside what the protagonists feel – can be a challenging proposition but both actors hit their mark. Whether you want them to or not is an entirely different matter altogether.
Home Free! is good reason to plan ahead and book back-to-back shows, a chaser if you will, for when you leave the darkness of the theatre with the story and the performances still stuck in your throat.