The Beacham family. Back row, left to right: Seth Little as Guy, Nick Beacham’s partner; Jordon Navratil as Nick; Mia Ingimundson as Norris Beacham, the daughter; and Chris Walters as Kevin, Norris’ husband. Seated are Howard Siegel as the patriarch of the family, Glen, and Anna Hagan as the matriarch, Bonnie. (photo by Ellie O’Day)
Homeward Bound by Elliott Hayes is about death and relationships. And family dynamics. Jewish community member Howard Siegel plays the father, Glen Beacham, in Western Gold Theatre’s production that opens today, Oct. 6, and runs until Oct. 29 at Pal Studio Theatre.
Set in 1990, Glen and Bonnie Beacham have invited their adult children (a son and a daughter) and their respective partners for dinner – and an announcement, publicist and Jewish community member Ellie O’Day told the Independent. Homeward Bound “is a dark comedy,” she said, “but also plays with the ways we talk to each other but don’t always really listen.”
“Every family has a time when they get together. Ours was Shabbat,” said Siegel. “No matter where we were or how busy our week was we had to be home Friday for dinner. We ate at the dining room table instead of our usual place in the kitchen, and talked, or argued, but that was our family time. If there was chicken soup, we were having roast chicken; if it was vegetable soup, it was brisket. While the Beachams are getting together on a Sunday and it may not be as regular as my childhood was, dinner with the family is no less important and the news of the week is going to change all their lives.”
Of the plot, O’Day added, “Dad, who happily distracts himself with crossword puzzles, is apparently not well…. Mother distracts herself by constant chatter (where will they go on their next holiday? Dad is totally noncommittal)…. Meanwhile, the gay son’s partner is late for this Sunday dinner … and the daughter is trying unsuccessfully to hide the deterioration of her marriage.”
Siegel described the character of Glen as a “glib, funny, highly educated” man who “has provided a substantial middle-class standard of living for his family.” He said, “My father aspired to these qualities, but it was his struggle, so I wasn’t able to model Glen after my dad. However, finding the love for his family that perhaps isn’t so clear in the text is important to me and to the play. That was very apparent in my experience in my parents’ home.”
He added about the Beachams, “This is a family like so many families we know or grew up in. The parents have to accept choices their children make whether they like or understand them; they accept them out of love and perhaps duty. The kids bicker, but would defend their sibling to anyone if push came to shove. Deep in this family’s dysfunction is a connection that we all should be able to understand.”
Homeward Bound runs Oct. 6-29, Tuesday-Saturday, 7:30 p.m.; Saturday-Sunday, 2 p.m.; and Oct. 19, 2 p.m., at Pal Studio Theatre, 581 Cardero St. Tickets are $32/$27 from 604-363-5734 or homeward. brownpapertickets.com.