Rutherford and Son
Rutherford And Son is a play that was written in 1912 and was a huge success, especially because a woman wrote it; although people didn’t originally know that it was written by a woman. It’s being revived now at the Mint Theater with, to be quite honest, a friend of mine whose name is Bob Hogan who plays Rutherford. The story is about kind of an overbearing man who has two sons. One is kind of ineffectual and got into the ministry and is about to strike out on his own, and the other son has married a woman that the father feels is below his status, a working girl, and they have a child, who has come to live with dad because they’ve fallen on hard economic times. There’s also an old maid sister who is kind of cranky, a daughter who has apparently taken over sort of the role of the mother and helping out, and Rutherford’s assistant Martin. It turns out that Martin and the daughter are sort of getting it on, and once Rutherford finds out about it he banishes her. So if nothing else, it gives you a clear idea of how poorly women were treated and thought of. The idea is that Rutherford has a glass blowing plant and has brought his children up from poverty and feels that he wants to leave it to them, and his son has figured out a way to change the formula for glass making and wants to sell it to his father, therefore go out on his own. However, he shares it with Martin who then gets caught in a question of loyalties. It’s not a bad play and it’s certainly universal themes. It goes on a little bit long. The second act is terrific. It depends on what your tolerance for sort of old fashion theater is. It’s exceptionally well acted and the cast is uniformly terrific. It does help to know that it’s basically a 100-year-old play. It was written in 1912, and this is 2012, so you can figure that out yourself. And this play was originally debuted in New York right around September 11th and it was closed because of the issues of September 11th. As I said, the cast is terrific and the issues are universal; it’s just a little talky. It’s over two and a half hours with two intermissions. It is interesting to see how much things have not changed, but it is sort of an old fashioned kind of play. I would give it three stars.