In this day and age, home is a subject that is open for debate. Homes consist of fathers, mothers and children, but should that be the only family structure in our world? Playwright Cory Daigle’s play, “A Home Across The Ocean,” directed by Dev Bondarin, gives a new look to the modern family structure.
In “A Home Across The Ocean,” Grethe Rast, who lives in Chicago, has one son and she is a recent widow. The loss of her husband is only one of several new changes in her life. Her son, Conner, and his partner, Daniel, are going to become parents; well, foster parents to a young girl named Penny. To Grethe’s surprise, Conner and Daniel neglected to tell her that Penny was a thirteen year old girl of African-American descent, who has been difficult to place with a family because she is an introverted child. Grethe has also reached out to an “old friend” from her college days, who now lives in England and has agreed to visit her in Chicago.
Grethe, who was portrayed by Alex Bond, is the focal point of the play, as her life is changed the most throughout the production.
Bond played a convincing role of a woman who was trying to put the pieces of her life back together again. She lost her husband and is excited to hear that her son is going to be a dad himself. She also attempts to strike up an old flame with her friend from abroad.
Like mother, like son. David Stallings played the role of Conner with just as much passion and dedication as Bond portrayed Grethe. He made it clear in the play that Grethe lost her husband, but he lost his dad, too. He, understandably, felt that he didn’t have an adequate amount of time to grieve his loss and midway through the play he tries to re-evaluate his stance on being parent.
On the contrary, Daniel (Mark Emerson) is not as emotional as his other fellow characters. Unlike Conner’s lapse of second guessing his decision on parenthood, Daniel really wanted to make it work with Penny. His father died when he was a young child and he wanted to succeed at the challenge like Penny.
Penny (Lavita Shaurice Burr) is a complex character. She was in the foster care system since she was seven after she watched her mother die, a result of a fall, and thinking that her real father would finally come and want to be with her again. Her hopes of her father coming for her were raised for a moment after the arrival of Grethe’s friend Mhambi.
Mhambi Nobhule (Dathan B. Williams) is a native African, who met Grethe while they were in college. After a brief love affair and an even briefer stay in the States, he moved to London and Grethe met her husband, Conner’s father, a few weeks later.
Overall, this production was a sight worth seeing. The actors’ portrayals of the characters were spot on and engaging throughout the entire night.