Charles Deemer's new book, 3 Plays About Family, is up at Amazon.
FAMILY VALUES: A dying patriarch struggles to accept his gay son and a changing world.
THE OLD BEATNIK: A wealthy young woman meets the grandmother she thought was dead, and the old woman, an unreformed Beat poet, changes the woman forever.
FAMILY CLIMATE: A teenager leads a youth movement to engage Native Americans in addressing climate change and is faced with the realities of Realpolitik and family values.
Crafted with the usual care Deemer gives his projects, these plays are focused on at least three, and perhaps more, highly important, rambunctious and politically-charged contemporary themes--a paella (one of the author's favorite dishes) of American discontent and slow-cooked sensibilities.
They explore areas of individual and group identity and how people are forced, through an emerging cultural awareness and constant flux, to confront new realities at almost every turn in existence. Yet, as political and personal as the plays are, they maintain Deemer's ironic and humorous tone throughout, rising and falling with well-placed dollops of confused and exacting emotion, anger, pathos and sensual reckoning.
They hold the good banter of smart people fiercely fighting for what they believe--yearning, failing, and sometimes winning their days and nights. Good days and bad are cleaved open like fruit and tasted for all of their potential freshness or rottenness, the lurking dangers in relationships, the possibility of ruination, and a constant forging ahead. The familial passions here are real, the pain clear, the absurdities plentiful. The plays then become as relentless as the characters who live inside them, becoming the real stuff of life and death--of Realpolitik pressed hard against the Rebel's soul.
I highly recommend you buy a copy and read this work, which the long-time Portland playwright, novelist, poet and teacher has averred to be his final "serious" book as he closes out his career and makes plans to travel and relax with his wife, Harriet.