Part One of Horton Foote's The Orphans' Home Cycle.
What Is the Story of The Orphans’ Home Cycle: The Story of a Childhood?
The Story of a Childhood is the first part in a trilogy of nine plays centering on Horace Robedaux, a character based on the father of playwright Horton Foote. Set in and around a small Texas town, the show consists of three plays, each an hour long: Roots in a Parched Ground (set in 1902) tells of the death of Horace’s father from alcoholism when the boy is 12 years old; Convicts (set in 1904) centers on a farm where 14-year-old Horace is sent to work alongside prison inmates; and Lily Dale (set in 1910) presents the young adult Horace, reunited with the mother who abandoned him when she remarried and moved to Houston with his younger sister.
What Is The Orphans’ Home Cycle: The Story of a Childhood Like?
Three plays may seem like a lot for one evening, but these one-acts draw you in like the opening pages of an absorbing novel. You’ll fall in love with plucky Horace as you meet his eccentric relatives in the first play, sympathize with his plight in being shipped off to live among convicts in the second play, and find your heart breaking as he attempts to establish a bond with his guilt-ridden mother and self-centered sister in the third play. Three actors portray Horace at different ages, and a large company juggles multiple roles, as they’ll continue to do in the second and third parts of the trilogy. The Story of a Childhood will whet your appetite for more of this great American playwright’s masterful family saga, which he didn’t live to see. [Foote died in March 2009 at age 92.]
Is The Orphans’ Home Cycle: The Story of a Childhood Good for Kids?
There’s certainly nothing objectionable in the formal turn-of-the-20th-century language, but the show’s three-hour running time is too much for younger kids. Theater-loving ‘tweens will find plenty to enjoy.