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The Subject Was Roses
Drama / 2m, 1f / Interior / Winner! 1965 Pulitzer Prize for Drama It is May of 1946 and Timmy Cleary has come home from the war to his estranged parents, John and Nettie, in the Bronx apartment where he grew up. As their reunion promises a return to life as it never was, John, giving up a lucrative business opportunity, attends a ball game with his son and grudgingly, at T ...more
Paperback, 77 pages
Published 1990 by Samuel French
(first published June 1965)
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This is a bitter play, about a marriage barely held together by the son neither parent wants to relinquish. Mr. Gilroy accurately penned what goes on behind the closed doors of a house when men, women and children struggle for dominance and independence within the bounds of routine, marriage and family. In harsh simple language, only occasionally tempered by kindness, we see what happens when a man and a woman fall out of love with each other and the adult son who is unfortunately caught in the ...more
This is like All My Sons, but I liked it better. Sure you don't have the dead people and the downed planes. Instead you have alcoholism, punching and roses! What's not fun about that? Most of this edition is actually the playwrite's diary about getting the production of the play to Broadway. Great for all you arts admin nerds out there. He also put in the budget for the show, so I know how much the LD made and how much they paid the stage hands. It's kind of interesting.
Maybe it’s because, fifty years after this play premiered, dysfunctional family drama is de rigueur for theatre, but, for me, The Subject was Roses was just blah. The storyline is pretty much “families are dysfunctional.” It’s a bunch of scenes with people arguing or crying or being passive aggressive. Maybe it was groundbreaking when it premiered, but in 2014, it doesn’t stand out amidst the sea of dramatic plays about messed-up families who like to argue. Not recommended.
I worked for a while as an unpaid volunteer tech. assistant at Theater By the Sea in Portsmouth, NH back in the fall of 1969. This was the play I worked on and I'm pretty sure I read it. Saw the movie too which was pretty good. Date read is approximate.