Monday, February 23, 2009


There were several components that made the play "Portrait" stand out differently from the plays I've seen so far. The plot flowed naturally, even though the time jumped forward several times. When it happened more than once throughout the play, then finally at the end, there wasn't any disruption.
Time was alot more discreet than the tension that seemed to build up to a satisfying climax. The more the intimate nude portraits were mentioned, I was forced to wonder what exactly was in the box and what Nancy could never forgive Alice for. The most amusing part of the tension was when Alice was finally confronted about the portraits of her beaten son. The culmination of the entire plot came down to the moment when the family's most disturbing secrets were revealed to everyone. For a moment there, I was afraid that the Richard's horrible past included nude pictures of more disturbing crimes such as molestation or anything greater than that. Afterwards, I realized that in this story, a mother's neglect of her child's beaten body and bruised soul was far worse than anything I imagined, and it made me understand why Richard was so cold towards the end.
Something that was more disturbing to me than the sketches of Richard was Alice's final words when she admits her only self portraits are the ones of her children, Nancy, and grand-children. It made me ultimately feel pity for Alice and where her heart was her whole life. This moment probably qualified the idea that a mother's life can be shown through her children. It fit so perfectly and only made the play more twisted in the sense that Alice's life no longer belonged to her. Because she no longer can "claim" her own life, I think that this plot heightened how truly cruel Alice was to herself and to those around her.

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