Branden Jacob-Jenkins’s play Appropriate is soon to be a new American theater classic.
Like Long Day’s Journey into Night, Death of a Salesman, Buried Child or A Street Car Named Desire, its easily recognizable living room drama and authentic character dialogue eloquently encapsulates the American psyche of the time.
Set in 2018 on a former slave-owning plantation, three grown-up siblings sort out their late father’s estate as they metaphorically unpack each other’s trouble lives with quick-witted dialogue and laugh-out-loud conceits. The Lafayette family is clearly the new theatrical American Gothic.
“Why can’t you let me be different?” Franz yells to his older sister Toni after a 10-year estrangement. The three Southern siblings, along with their children and romantic partners will struggle with this question throughout the night. “Why can’t you let me be different?” Their self-imposed metamorphoses, specifically shedding the exoskeleton of their respective childhoods, demands of the audience an investigation into the questions of potential and transformation; is such a thing even possible? Can one ever emerge as a respected and brilliant butterfly from the cocoons created by their family?