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The Dark at the Top of the Stairs

by William Inge

I can't imagine this play is done very often. It's very "of its time" and doesn't shed too much light on things that are relevant today. Also some things are just offensive. That being said, I did like reading it. I have a fondness for period pieces. Something about the language seems romanticized in a way.. not that it is all roses and cream but that you can learn so much from the way a person speaks and in a play like this, it's just old enough that we don't talk that way anymore.

So basic plot - we've got a troubled marriage - passionate but violent, between Cora and Rubin.. their children, Sonny and Reenie are outcasts in a way.. Cora's sister Lottie is married to Morris but they don't have any passion in their marriage. Then there is the mysterious stranger Sammy who comes to take Reenie to the dance. It's set in the '20s .. there's a flapper. Hard times, blah blah.

So what is the dark at the top of the stairs? Well, my two cents.. each of the characters has a secret fear that is revealed in some way during the play. Sonny is plain scared of the dark. Cora realizes that her sister's marriage isn't as happy as she thought it was. Sammy kills himself. (oops Spoiler Alert) So, in that way, I feel that the fear that resides in the back of your mind, the thing you're too afraid to say out loud or tell your husband or teach your child.. that fear is the darkness and by saying that fear out loud each character takes ownership of his trouble and creates a change in his world. Be it for better or worse, who knows, since the play ends, but certainly for Cora and Rubin things end much better than they started. They confronted the darkness in themselves and it brought them back together.

Monday Play-a-day: Come Back, Little Sheba by William Inge

1 comment:

Ejay said...

I'm struggling to do the Monologue that Sammy does while talking about himself, the one where he's rambling about being in the military and his mother etc. I've been at this for an hour and I came across your page, this is me procrastinating because I have to present this in 4 hours but I have nothing prepared. Thanks for the read!


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