» Is Rebeck's House Our House?



Teresa Rebeck has an established a reputation as a writer, most notably for the long-running television franchise Law and Order, for which she has won a WAG award. She is also a prolific young playwright and a Pulitzer prize finalist. Her new play, Our House, is a caustic satire about the entertainment/news industry and its influence on the dumbing-down and numbing-down of young adults–and, by extension, of society as a whole.


This playwright certainly has tapped into a mounting concern among certain educators, cultural critics and parent groups, who view the current trend of substituting life style information for fact-based news with a marked degree of trepidation. It is an argument positing that the ubiquitous presence of style has overcome substance on our airwaves, with profound negative effects.


Rebeck’s overblown dramatizations of a TV network head and his up-and-coming female anchor are nicely (if a bit expansively) played by the talented Christopher Evan Welsh and Morena Baccarin. The young adults who live in a house that becomes the focus the TV network are a diverse group of males and females, the majority of whom just want to get along. Rebeck seems to imply that this ‘live and let live’ attitude has resulted in the housemates’ failing to recognize (or flat out ignoring) one member’s pathological behavior. Is Rebeck saying that we are so diluted by the ‘contemporary nothing’ on the cable, news and network airwaves that our powers of observation, along with our critical faculties and our responsibilities to one another, are compromised? Possibly.


Although the play never bored me, and I continually wondered where the show was going (a plus for sure), one concern persisted. There wasn’t a single character with whom I could empathize or identify. Their collective dyspeptic behavior showcased the lengths to which one would go to capture ratings and experience a moment or two of fame. Since all of the characters were unsympathetic and fairly self-involved, it left me wondering–is Rebeck making a statement about all of us?


I hope not!