The disintegration of the nuclear family has so pervaded American domestic life that single mothers and latchkey kids are much more common today than member of the Leave It to Beaver genre of family. Escaped, a play written and directed by Heather Cross and performed at the Loeb Experimental Theater this January, examines the effects of one family's collapse on its female members.
As a play, Escaped exists on two levels. There is a surface story, the reactions of various members of the Blake family to their imminent move to Britain. Cross intersperses several nightmarish visions of the eldest Blake daughter, Kate (Carrie Kaufman), into this tale. Kate must alternately confront the Nazi parent figures of her dreams and the real-life frustrations of moving.
Those segments of Escaped which dealt with the family tensions triggered by the move were successful. Believable dialogue was complimented by inventive staging and set construction. However, Cross's bizarre dream sequences disrupted the show's rhythm and destroyed the audience's interest in the characters. The portrayal of a family in turmoil would have been more effective without the nightmares.