‘If Larry were alive he wouldn’t act like this…’ (Joe, Act Three)
Even though Larry is never seen in the play, he’s an essential character to the story. He symbolizes the past. He symbolizes the war. He symbolizes the height of idealism. The revelation that he purposefully crashed his plane brings the ‘fake past’ crashing to a halt for the Kellers. It’s impossible for the characters to continue on as they have with this revelation. They must address the truth and move forward. Joe chooses to kill himself rather than face prosecution. Kate finally let’s the past go in a fashion: “Don’t take it on yourself. Forget now. Live.” (Act Three)
It’s interesting to think about how the present would have turned out for these characters if Larry had lived. Given how he ended his life, there is certainly the notion that of all the characters in the play he would not have let a suburban life get in the way of the truth.
Activities and Exercises
- Create a picture of what Larry looks like. Is he solidly built like Chris? Completely different? We know he’s an idealist, how does that translate to his physical presence?
- In groups create a specific memory of Larry for each character.
- Imagine a confrontation between Larry and Joe. How would it go?