Peel back the flesh of The Homecoming and you'll find a dangerous family dynamic that plays out to a shocking conclusion. Heartland Theater in Normal is currently staging this masterpiece of contemporary drama by Harold Pinter, who carefully charts the tumultuous inner workings of a working class English family.
Sandra Zielinski is the director of The Homecoming. Pinter, she said, has a way of just putting two characters into a scene and then letting human nature take its sometimes ugly course. "A brother comes home with his wife, and you just sit back and see what happens in this home."
Playing Max, the patriarch of the dysfunctional clan is David Kortemeier. "He's quite a guy," said Kortemeier. "He doesn't pull punches. He says what he thinks and thinks what he says. And that's where much of the humor is. As the play goes on, the layers are peeled away and you learn why is is the way he is. I think the comedy happens -- we laugh and we laugh hard at this -- because the way in which he just blatantly expresses himself, I think we recognize in this brutal family, our own families. There's a resonance to it."
The Homecoming features a power play between family members. "It's a clan in which one son got out," explained Zielinski. "And he's come home because the father is getting old, and so everybody is vying for position. And it's interesting that i's a dysfunctional family that depends on each other's dysfunction."
"Pinter captures the rhythms of family conversations so well," said Kortemeier. Audiences will recognize that, at least on a subconscious level."