Toys in the Attic

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I’ve been in a mood for plays recently, and the next one I picked up was called Toys in the Attic by Lillian Hellman. I’d found it lying in a pile of free old books outside a used furniture store, and thought it sounded promising. Either it would be something cute and fun or deeply unsettling, and I wasn’t disappointed.

It’s a deeply unsettling story about two old women who are pretty set in their ways and the sudden reappearance of their good-for-nothing nephew with a young bride and oodles of money. Where he got the money, nobody knows, and this set-up throws the balance of power that has always existed in the house completely out of whack. It even manages to drive a wedge between the sisters who have managed to co-exist in the house together for years.

It is a tense, witty, and occasionally funny, exploration of human emotion and trust. I’d love to see someone stage it someday, and, if you like a good play, this is an interesting read. Almost said fun, but that’s not really the case since you end up feeling uncomfortable for a good portion of it–in that good way that comes from a really well constructed scene of conflict.

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