Marc Palmieri's drama suffers from structural problems, but remains a powerful examination of dysfunctional families.
Palmieri focuses on three generations of the Maddigan clan, as seen in 1999: There's war-wounded, retired fireman Edmund (Dane Knell); his mantra-chanting daughter Kathleen (Deborah Tranelli); Kathleen's just-engaged daughter Colleen (Susan Bennett); her just-returned-from-his-most-recent-college-try son Kevin (Tristan Colton); and Kathleen's ex-husband, Richard Briggs (Curzon Dobell) -- whom Kevin reunites with the long-estranged Colleen -- on the occasion of her impending marriage to hotel manager Brian (Todd Lawson). Sadly, all that the seriously disturbed Richard can do is revert to form and attempt to thwart the impending nuptials.
Palmieri's intention is to illustrate how each of the family members is neurotic -- if not to say psychotic -- in his or her own way. Edmund is accused of being emotionally distant. Kathleen's marital problems have propelled her into excessive Eastern-philosophy devotion. Colleen is fragile after recovery from drug-abuse and bulimia. Kevin lacks stick-to-it-iveness and suffers from a need to heal everyone, and fellow family member Joe (Tyler Pierce) can't find commitment. Only Brian, a well-adjusted young man, is excused from the raging Levittown curse.
Unfortunately, the playwright hasn't found the way in which to make his various perspectives cohere, as he jolts from scene to scene to scene. Edmund's flashbacks -- in particular the one that ends the first of the two-act work -- suggest Palmieri is contending that the sins of the grandfathers are inevitably visited on the succeeding generations. But then the introduction of crazed Richard hint that he's the fulcrum; Colleen's tenuous hold on a healthy mind and body temporarily pushes her front and center; and Kevin's need to be conciliating angel (and, not incidentally, he's the last character accorded undivided attention) indicates the chockablock opus has actually been about his (noticeably underwritten) assailed self-esteem.