Uncle From America
A Play by Evald Flisar
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Synopsis from Collected Plays, I (Texture Press, 2006)
Johnny returns from America to win back Alenka, who, fifteen years earlier left him for an older, more experienced man. This time Johnny has an advantage: he had managed to save half a million dollars and wants to buy an old mansion that he and Alenka had dreamed of when they were young. Alenka is happy to resume their relationship: she has dreams of becoming an artist, owning a gallery, gaining social status.
There are others who look to Uncle Johnny for salvation: members of his family, whose selfish squabbles had brought them to a state of suppressed mutual hatred. Mother, to escape the diatribes of her cranky incontinent husband, had moved to an old people's home. Father, bitter because of his lifelong failures, has only one pleasure: to be rude to everybody, especially Neighbor, his one-time mistress, now paid to nurse him. Johnny's sister, resigned to life with a philandering husband, hopes that Johnny's return will put an end to his liaison with Alenka, but this does not happen.
Other things, too, are not what they seem. It transpires that Johnny had lost all his savings during a stock market crash. This is enough for Alenka to drop him again. But she doesn't - for it turns out that it is the Father who is loaded, having won half a million on the lottery. Further, Father may be persuaded to buy the mansion in return for living with Johnny and Alenka as one of the family. He is persuaded, and the stage is set for the modern Lady MacBeth to plot Father's demise, while Johnny, caught between filial duty and erotic obsession, contributes Hamlet-like indecision, which leads to a tragic denouement and to his remaining alone among the ruins of shattered illusions.