Theater: No Pity for Parents

The Cantilevered Terrace (by William Archibald) is about a family that is distant in love, close in hate. Indeed, the hate is running so high that three minutes after the curtain rises, the son is plotting to have his best friend push his aging parents off a cliff to their deaths. The play, like the family, is haunting and irritating, eloquent and garrulous, terrifying and petulant, half gem and half paste.

The rich Perpetua family is a representative tyranny. Each member feels free to call a spade a spade, thus turning it into a hatchet. The hatchet is then buried in the...

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