Review by Paul Fenn
STRICKEN is about criminality, perversity, grief, tragedy and finally, love.
What is a man, selfishly addicted to love, who by seducing his weak-hearted and accommodating wife, helps kill her? A lover or a killer?
STRICKEN is about lesbianism, longing and envy.
What is an estranged lesbian daughter whose father "only loves what he can fuck," who realizes he's probably "killed" her mother, and wants revenge? An envious dyke or a longing for love?
Since Maudry left childhood, her father has all but entirely ignored her. And as far as she can tell he's competely dominated her mother's life with his need for constant love and attention. In effect he had avoided the rest of the world, existing almost entirely in his devoted wife's arms: until it kills her.
What was this fatal devotion? The pathetic flaw of a mother or actual, simple passionate love for her man?
STRICKEN is about mourning and necrophilia.
What is a widower who keeps his wife's body in cold storage for nocturnal visits? A sexual degenerate or tragic soul mate?
Wilbert passes between intolerable sobriety and a drunken dream state, under the cold stare of his resentful daughter, and the half-assed interventions of his gossipy friends. To cure his funeral erection and feared necrophelia, they send Wilbert a stuttering psychologist, a prostitute, and a shaman.
STRICKEN finds mourning within perversity, love within selfishness, longing within hatred.
What is consensual killing? What is perversity as a form of grieving? What is degeneracy if it is the only way to love?
Cross-dressed in his deceased wife's clothes, he accurately grasps the truth about his fathering. By following the path of his madness, Wilbert discovers his medium: she-imitation, in which to find the capacity to love his lesbian daughter.
STRICKEN ends with considerable doubt as to the outcome of their relationship.
Does understanding mean forgiveness or ambivalence? What is left of a discarded, wounded love between father and daughter, as Wilbert's sleep-walking epiphany catharts the fear and resentment of a family's lifetime? Can the loosening of sexual morality, which his madness and her opportunism facilitate, open doors to their natural affection, or will it dissolve all connections between them and throw them to the wind?
Besides these two main acting characters, there is an additional cast of 8: Who represent the usual participiants of a death experience. Although 5 or 6 actors could do the 8. There are also 2 separate singing (by the "Muse") and two dancing parts.
One set can be adapted for all scenes.
The stage is two-tiered, with an upstairs and a downstairs.
For those who DON'T do music, STRICKEN can be produced withOUT songs (which are sung between scenes, not during them). Dance, too is non-essential, though more intrinsic to the play.
Copyright (c) 2000 by Don Fenn.