This play presents an intriguing dialogue between two men, two lifelong friends of greater and lesser success. A.C. and Pat are the two players in this drama. Both are married and share common memories, but it is clear that it has been in their maturity that they have gone in different ways within their friendship. A. C. appears to be the dominant one. He also the most successful in the most obvious ways, but his marriage is less than satisfactory in ways that he cannot explain. Pat’s marriage seems much more stable, though he wonders less at its foundations than does A.C., who is caught between a decent wife and a great mistress. The two men differ in their attitudes toward their children as well. One never wonders why these two guys keep talking through their disagreements, shared memories, and disputes, however. A.C. needs to figure things out but can’t, and Pat probably should try, but is unable.

Helgeson, on the other hand, is quite able to convey meaning and change through simple action, simple dialogue, simple use of the stage, and the simple qualities of our lives that add up to complex meaning. His characters live on beer and Bolivian marching powder, and that is appropriate and a part of the “realism” which dominates this play. So is A.C.’s pornographic talk. And yet, Helgeson brings an allusive quality to his work with references to classical Greek legend in his modern characterization of Achilles and Patrocles which at times seems as (or more) important than the “real” narrative.

Sins Of The Father brings us to a conclusive moment between the two characters seen in the play which is neither strained nor unusual. It is a powerful contemporary drama.

John Jacob
  Author of the Night Of The Dolphin