(Dominic Cavendish’s article appeared in the Telegraph, 9/24.)
They like to think big in the States. First seen to acclaim at the Public Theater in New York two years ago, Suzan-Lori Parks’s “Father Comes Home from the Wars” (Parts 1, 2 and 3) is a very full standalone evening in itself – a three-hour slice of brutal life set in the first half (1862-3) of the American Civil War. But it’s also the start of an intended nine-part opus that will apparently take its audience from that decisive period through to the post-Iraq present-day.
Parks was the first African-American woman to get the Pulitzer Prize for Drama, in 2002. Despite her intimidating accolades, her monumental aspirations, plus the implied grandeur of “Parts 1, 2 and 3” (each part is actually more like a long act), the piece, restaged at the Royal Court by Jo Bonney with a largely British cast, is remarkably accessible.