We meet Sebastian Bliss and his twin sister, Bernadette Dixon, at their mother's funeral, after she was killed by an errant shower head. It is a reunion for the siblings, having not seen each other in years. After the funeral Bernadette can barely stop weeping, while her brother is merely irritated by what he feels is her humiliating display of emotion. We follow Sebastian to a therapy session with Dr. Hillary MacMahon, an extravagantly needy woman, who, upon hearing that Sebastian is terminating his treatment, dissolves into a morass of self-recrimination, ending with her stabbing her hand. All the while, Bernadette's husband, Kip, responds to the funeral rather mystically, deciding to eschew his dental practice and become an artist. Bernadette, now pregnant, is reduced to being Kip's model—immobile on the outside, raging on the inside. Sebastian's only real contact with people is in the form of letters he writes to a convicted murderer, Dylan. Attempting to form another human relationship, Sebastian brings home a prostitute and ends up with his throat cut. As he lies bleeding, he is visited by his mother's ghost. Mother and son reveal secrets they couldn't tell while Mother lived: Her children are the progeny of a rapist; and Sebastian had, indeed, loved. Sebastian goes to his sister's home to recuperate and while there becomes obsessed with Dylan. As Bernadette and Kip prepare to leave for Africa with their new baby, Sebastian finally receives a letter from Dylan. In it he explains that his punishment has not alleviated his guilt, but that charity might, and thus he sets Sebastian free from his obsession. The lesson is learned again as Bernadette sets her husband free to pursue life with Sebastian's doctor, Hillary MacMahon, who had visited Sebastian at his sister's. As the play ends, Sebastian, who has decided to stay and be the baby's father, finally weeps for his lost lover, his mother and everyone he misses.
"RAISED IN CAPTIVITY is about guilt, redemption and self-punishment, and, against all odds, it is also very funny…[Silver's] dialogue, which skillfully juxtaposes the banal and the outlandishly whimsical, has the shimmer of an opal…Archly absurdist comedies come cheap these days. finding one with depth of feeling is truly a cause to celebrate." —NY Times. "…funny, original, imaginative and possessed of a furious energy that makes it spin like a top…full of wittily prickly lines and riotous exchanges, and it uses the stage in splashily irreverent ways that can be exhilarating." —NY Magazine. "…by a mile, the best play of the season." —NY Observer.