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The Sum of Us

The Sum of Us
Your Price: $16.95 CDN
Author: David Stevens
Publisher: Samuel French
Format: Softcover
# of Pages: 84
Pub. Date: 1990
ISBN-10: 0573692661
ISBN-13: 9780573692666
Cast Size: 1 woman, 3 men

About the Play:

Winner of the 1991 Outer Critics Circle Award for the Outstanding Off-Broadway Play

The Sum of Us is a full-length comedy by David Stevens. How's a guy supposed to find Mr. Right when his father won't stop trying to help? That is the premise of this play about the relationship between an ordinary father and his gay son. A hit Off-Broadway and then an award-winning film starring the-then unknown actor Russell Crowe, helping to launch the Hollywood star's career.

The Sum of Us explores the volatile relationship between an aging widower and his gay son. Jeff is a pretty regular guy who likes rugby, beer, and barbecues. A plumber in Sydney, he shares a house with his widowed Dad. Dad likes a few beers and is actively looking for a permanent mate. But in this warm comedy by gifted Australian writer David Stevens, the extraordinary is contained in the relationship between father and son and their individual searches for a partner: Jeff is gay and Dad is entirely supportive – so supportive, in fact, he accepts and encourages his son with an enthusiasm that borders on meddlesome. After meeting in a local pub, Jeff and a young gardener, Greg, hit it off and begin to date. When he meets Jeff's stubborn, opinionated Dad however, Greg begins to back off. Meanwhile Dad too has a new flame: a woman he met through a dating service. But Dad's budding romance with Joyce is nipped in the bud when she reveals herself to be homophobic just before Dad suffers a stroke. For once, tolerance rather than intolerance, is the focus in a play about gay people.

The Sum of Us was first performed at the University of Southern California and later performed at the Williamstown Theatre Festival in 1989, and then in 1990 at New York's longest continuously running Off-Broadway theatre, the Cherry Lane Theatre in Greenwich Village; where it enjoyed a 12-month run and won a coveted Outer Critics Circle Award for the Outstanding Off-Broadway Play. The first production in Australia was in 1992 by the Sydney Theatre Company at the Wharf Studio Theatre in Sydney. Another production toured capital cities, regional and remote venues across Australia in 2011.

Cast: 1 woman, 3 men

What people say:

"…a poignant, psychologically rich exploration of family ties and the conflicts between those loyalties and the formation of outside relationships… an unusually sturdy and well-made play whose humane vision of decent people struggling to find love in a treacherous universe strikes a deep, warmly resonant chord." — The New York Times

"A father son play with a big heart. Its first act has plenty of laughs, while the second half balances humor and pathos and includes a surprising conclusion...ought to run in resident theaters and summer stock for years to come." — Variety

"An old fashioned play in the best sense. There's a real story and fully developed characters an audience can care about." — Associated Press

"...made me feel a wave of emotions, a surge of patriotism, and hope for a more accepting society – all in a couple of hours… it is great fun and makes you laugh and smile." — Fremantle Gazette (Australia)

About the Playwright:

David Stevens is an Oscar-nominated Australian screenwriter and playwright who co-authored Breaker Morant and directed the Emmy Award-winning miniseries A Town Like Alice. He has written several other miniseries, including Merlin, and his Off-Broadway play The Sum of Us was made into a movie. He worked extensively with Alex Haley on the screenplay Queen, and after Alex Haley died, he completed the unfinished book.