Winner! Distinguished Play of the Year Award
This is the story of a boy's coming of age as he faces the
celebration of his coming of age in the Bar Mitzvah ceremony. Given the
ring his father cherished, Allen is challenged by friends to prove
that the ring is really 14 carat gold. Taunted by his friends, Allen
bites the ring, and not knowing that gold will dent, he believes the
ring to be a fake. Faced by his mother to explain why the ring is
dented. Allen, ashamed to admiit the truth, lies, saying it was an
accident. His mother prods him to tell the truth because the teeth
marks are obvious. "Did you bite the ring?" she asks, explaining that
gold is a soft metal and and can easily dent. As the hour of the Bar
Mitzvah approaches, it becomes apparent that Allen cannot achieve
manhood with the lie in his heart.
The situation is furrther
complicated when Allen's aunt and uncle arrive bringing his new suit
for the occasion. However, the pants must be shortened, and on Friday,
the tailors are closed. Nobody sews on the Sabbath. Allen's mother, a
religious woman, volunteers to shorten the pants. To save his mother
from what he believes to be a sin, he admits his own lie. And his
grandmother, relieved that the boy has really achieved moral adulthood,
suggests that the cuffs can be folded. Yes, sewing on the Sabbath may
be a sin, but there is no law against folding.
The play ends with
Allen's participating in the critical moment of the ceremony - and even
the grandmother's inviting the audience to join in the reception.
"It is both deeply moving and humorous, and works beautifully." - The Sunday Tennessean
First produced by the Henry Street Settlement Theatre, New York City.
The Man-Child was a semi-finalist in the Third Indiana University-Purdue University at Indianapolis Children's Theatre Playwriting Competition and was featured in a rehearsed reading at the 1989 Children's Theatre Symposium held on the campus of Indiana University-Purdue University at Indianapolis.