by Barbara Lebow
by Barbara Lebow
Published by Dramatists Play Service, Inc.
Winter, 1854. The shattering power of a storm forces a former sea captain, his injured wife, and the daughter of a runaway slave to seek refuge in a single small room of a lighthouse tower. Powerful forces rise around them and shatter their carefully sheltered lives.
On a remote stretch of Maine coast live Captain Nathaniel Brocket and his wife, Octavia, lighthouse keepers who have had to move into the tower itself after a terrible winter storm wrecks their cottage. With them is Angeline, the young black woman raised as their daughter.
Claiming that she received a head injury during the storm, Octavia begins to have attacks of delirium. Past and present merge for her as she fantasizes about the captain’s lustful nature and instigates bizarre arguments with Angeline, mistaking her for a woman who died long ago. Nathaniel tries to divert his wife with romantic tales of his adventures at sea, but her brain fever, it seems, may have other, more sinister roots.
While the captain cannot face the reality of his wife’s continuing decline, Angeline can no longer suppress questions about her real mother or her heritage, but it is only upon Octavia’s death that the truths she’s been seeking will out, whatever the consequences.
“Lebow’s three-character period play contains relational complications for a cast twice
its size. The problems and memories that beset the characters are not easily disentangled; nor does the playwright spend any time trying to make things easier for us by modernizing their behavior. Theirs is a quite personal and unusual tragedy, made poignant by their quite ordinary humanness. Lebow once again shows that in tragic drama, the characters who refuse pity are the ones who most rouse it in us”
—New York Native.
“…a serious work … The Keepers represents playwright Barbara Lebow’s continuing
exploration into ethnic deracination, a concern that began with her highly praised
A Shayna Maidel”