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“Lost and Found”

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Harris, Paul (American playwright, 1958-____), “Lost and Found,”

a 90-minute drama in English, set in a comfortable apartment on Lakeshore Drive, Chicago, evening, 1999,


  •  © 1999 by Paul Harris;  •  script/rights available from Paul Harris, 305 West 45th Street #3-I, New York City, New York 10036, U.S.A., e-mail PHARRIS825@aol.com, telephone (work) 212 265 6845.  •  Cited by Paul Harris, via ftp August 1, 1999; Harris says,

  § Dramatis Personae Rachel Jarka (f), 60, professor of Social Anthropology, head of her department , married to Tom Liddle; Tom Liddle (m), 62, professor of Law, married to Rachel Jarka; Ken Fried (m), 38, Rachel's son whom she gave up for adoption when he was five days of age, a twice-married, twice-divorced recovering alcoholic.

  § Synopsis “One evening the phone rings in the home of Rachel and Tom, two successful university professors at Northwestern University. It is her son Ken whom she gave up for adoption thirty-eight years earlier. He has found her and would like to meet. Rachel has been married to Tom for twenty years. It is a good marriage between two people who are not only just husband and wife but also good friends. They have not been able to have children, however, because of Tom’s sterility. Tom knows nothing of her son until she tells him. Tom feels betrayed at having been kept in the dark all these years and storms out. Rachel and Ken meet. After thirty-eight years, Ken has many questions to which he wants answers. Unhappy with some of the answers, he, too, leaves. Tom and Rachel reconcile. Ken returns. Apologetic about his earlier behavior, Ken starts to talk with Rachel and Tom and they with him and each other—rather than each talking at the other two. . . .

  § Comment “This play won an award at the recent Edward Albee Theatre Conference held in Alaska. It has (as I August 1, 1999) had four rehearsed readings—two in New York City, one in Florida, and one in Alaska, arousing much discussion. Adoption is still a big taboo in American society, yet thirty million Americans (eleven percent of the population) are adoptees' children, natural parents, adopting parents, or siblings. The play ponders nature versus nurture: are people who they are because of natural parents and inherited DNA or because of parenting by those who raised them? Rachel, head of her university department, published, tenured, and even feted to some extent, still feels incomplete through the loss of the son whom she surrendered to adoption thirty-eight years ago. While feminism has been a liberating experience for many women, some of them regret and miss not having been mothers. Ken, although raised in a good home, has always thought himself the odd one out, the outsider looking in, almost as if everybody else knows the secrets of life that he does not. Tom, never fully having comprehended how much Rachel has missed motherhood, comes to realize that, secrets exist even in the happiest of marriages.”

  § Themes adoption, alcoholism, feminism, family, father-in-law-son-in-law relationship, loneliness, marriage, mother-son relationship, motherhood, need to connect, relationship, secrets in marriage.

  • See also Paul Harris’ "To Have And To Hold,"a 95-minute romantic gay comedy in English, set in New York, early 1990s, 2m.
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