SO YOU CAN LOOK ahead
2 W, 3 M
By Edward Morgan
New York City, 1932. A time of economic hardship and anti-immigrant fervor. Stephen and Alice are a young couple struggling to be happy. Their lives are thrown into turmoil over a prestigious job, a young Italian girl and the powerful eugenics movement. A little known chapter of American history that resonates today.
Lamar University, Beaumont, TX (Nov. 2021)
Online Reading, sponsored by Regents' University, London & Gedenkort T-4, Berlin
Baltimore Playwrights Festival, MD (2019)
HRC Showcase, Hudson, New York (2018)
CONTESTS / FESTIVALS
Semi-Finalist, National Playwrights Conference, Eugene O'Neill Theatre Center, CT (2019)
Baltimore Playwrights Festival (2018/19)
Winner, HRC Showcase Theatre's W Keith Hendrick Playwriting Contest, 2017
Semi-Finalist, Blue Ink Playwriting Contest 2018, American Blues Theatre, Chicago
Semi-Finalist, The Road Theatre Playwright's Festival 2017, Hollywood, CA
About the Play
In 1932, in addition to the Great Depression, American was in the midst of the eugenics movement, which was partly a misguided vision of social Darwinism and partly a reaction to waves of immigration from southern and eastern Europe.
So You Can Look Ahead is a fictional story set in the past, but it speaks to me of the present. The issues and characters resonate with America’s ongoing conflicts over race, immigration and intolerance from all sides of the political spectrum. I don’t think there are any easy answers but I do think we’ve yet to fully uproot the lie of eugenics. Most of us don’t even realize how much it was woven into the fabric of American life.
Morgan does an excellent job of keeping the audience guessing, as Stephen vacillates between loyalties. The audience’s sympathies shift, a testament to Hurt’s ability to not tip his hand, and we see his struggle between social advancement and desperation to placate his wife. Alice’s activism is at odds with Stephen’s ambition, and financial stability is not the salve Stephen hopes it would be. . . .
The staging is simple and efficient. This is a play of ideas and questions, and Morgan wisely dispenses with complex scene changes in favor of intimate conversations.
“So You Can Look Ahead” is uncomfortable viewing, in the best possible sense. At one point, Alice says she feels a moral responsibility. Well, so does Howard. Morality is more nuanced than we want to believe, and it is in the gray areas we will define ourselves and our future.
Andy Coughlan Art
Production photos by Lynn Layne