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FAMILY AGENDAS
© 1998 by Hugh Aaron
A two act realistic drama in English

CHARACTERS:
STEVEN: mid-twenties
MORRIS: Steven's father, in his late fifties
PEARL: Steven's mother, in her early fifties
ROBERT: Steven's brother, in his early twenties
DEBORAH: Robert's wife
CAROLINE: Steven's girlfriend

SETTING:
A kitchen and a living room

STRUCTURE:
Act I (40 minutes)
Four Scenes
Act II (35 minutes)
Four Scenes

SYNOPSIS:
Steven arrives at his Jewish parent's home after they asked him to leave his job in Chicago to take over his father's business. The father claims to have had a heart attack and must take it easy. Steven's younger brother Robert also joins him in the business. Soon Steven is outraged to discover that his father didn't have a heart attack after all and that his pretending to have one was a ruse to breakup his relationship with Caroline, his Catholic girlfriend in Chicago.

Meanwhile the father, who has given controlling shares of company stock to his sons, refuses to step aside or invest additional necessary funds in the business. Steven seeks to oust his father from the business, against his brother's wishes, and persuades Caroline to marry him, much to the consternation of his mother. Finally, through the good offices of Robert's wife Deborah, Caroline and the mother reach an understanding. As a result of Steven's expert management the business begins to boom. Seeing this, the father recognizes the need to let the next generation take over, and he and Steven make up.

COMMENT:
Each character in this play has his or her own agenda which leads to conflict between one or more family members. The conflict involves religious and generational differences. The family is middle class, consisting of a less educated first generation, and a college educated second generation. Through a willingness to become more open minded, and a recognition that differences in religion, age, and life's goals are not threatening, the characters arrive at a resolution of their conflicts. The play's theme advances the notion that, although conflict exists within a family, due to the historic and overwhelming bonds between it members, a family will remain intact.

THEMES:
Conflict, conflict resolution, generational differences, family, deception, love, self-realization, family business, religious differences, Catholicism, Judaism, personal needs, ambition, the great depression, trust


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