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Close Ties

Close Ties
Your Price: $16.95 CDN
Author: Elizabeth Diggs
Publisher: Dramatists Play Service
Format: Softcover
# of Pages: 73
Pub. Date: 1982
ISBN-10: 0822202204
ISBN-13: 9780822202202

About the Play:

Close Ties is a full-length drama by Elizabeth Diggs. This is a warm-hearted, funny and eloquently written play which blends humour and compassion as it reveals what happens to the very fabric of a family as they have to come to grips with the problem of how best to provide for the family's aging, and perhaps senile, matriarch. It is a play that celebrates with humour and truth the mystery and very nature of family. Particularly suitable for schools and play contests.

Close Ties tells the story of three generations of the Whitaker/Frye family gathering at their vacation home in the Berkshire Mountains of New England. The centre for all of them has always been the wilful matriarch, Josephine Whitaker, who, still bustles about energetically tending her garden and issuing orders to the others, even though she has long since given the house to her middle-aged daughter, Bess Frye, and her husband, Watson, who is now a senior partner in the law firm founded by his late father-in-law. Also present are the Frye children, three daughters and a teenaged son, and Ira Bienstock, the unlikely lover of one of the Frye daughters, who arrives uninvited but quickly ingratiates himself with Josephine and the others. While concerned with family ties, and the tensions, misunderstandings and good-natured bickering which arise from such closeness, the ultimate focus of the play is on the once indomitable Josephine, who is edging into senility and, in the family's view, must no longer be allowed to live alone. It is the resolution of this problem, which so many must face in today's world, that provides the very believable – and deeply moving – conclusion of this most human and genuinely affecting play.

Close Ties premiered in 1981 at Long Wharf Theatre's Stage Two in by New Haven, Connecticut and was a finalist for the prestigious Susan Smith Blackburn Prize honouring the best English-language women writers worldwide. It has won rave reviews in hundreds of productions, including its first New York production in 2008 at Off-Broadway's Ensemble Studio Theatre (EST), and has been mounted by high schools, colleges, and community theatres.

Cast: 5 women, 3 men

What people say:

"…a witty and winning play…." — New Haven Register

"Not only is the dialogue believable, it is immensely energetic. The substance of the play is serious, yet marvelously funny touches give the characters individuality and depth." — The Bulletin

"…It's as fine a play as one is likely to encounter for quite some time." — Darien News

"The characters in Elizabeth Diggs' latest domestic drama, Close Ties, present a convincing group portrait of a family in crisis. The problem that consumes them – namely, what to do about dotty Grandma – is genuinely wrenching... And thanks to Diggs' skill at naturalistic kitchen-talk, the members of this big clan sound very convincing as they go through the old rituals of acting out their longstanding family dynamics." — Variety

"A large and beautiful ensemble play... theatre this good is always a surprise." — Time Out NY

About the Playwright:

Elizabeth Diggs is an American playwright and Professor of Dramatic Writing in the Goldberg Department of Dramatic Writing, Tisch School of the Arts, New York University. She is a longtime member of Ensemble Studio Theatre and EST's Playwrights Unit. Her plays have been produced in New York at EST and the Vineyard, and at dozens of theatres across the Un ited States and around the world.