‘Look Homeward, Angel’ tests family dynamics

By Lauren Iverson

NIU’s School of Theatre and Dance presents “Look Homeward, Angel” 7:30 p.m. today at Huntley Middle School, 1515 S. Fourth St.

“Look Homeward, Angel” tells the story of a young man, Eugene Gant, and his dysfunctional family. His family includes his brother Ben; his mother Eliza; who is very controlling; his sister Helen; his brother-in-law Hugh and his father W.O. Gant, who is a drunk.

The family owns a boarding house called Dixieland in Altamont, N.C. Some guests of the boarding house include Jake Clatt and his elderly mother, Mrs. Pert, Miss Brown and others. Life is normal until Laura James shows up and turns Eugene’s life around.

Eugene, played by graduate acting student Martin Diaz-Valdes, dreams of adventure and living a life outside of his small town.

“Eugene is sincere and has heart,” Diaz-Valdes said. “He is a boy with a tremendous heart and feels things in such a big way. He’s just a soulful guy.”

Eugene is a smart young man who deserves more than what he has. The only one to acknowledge it beside himself is his brother Ben, played by graduate acting student Jared Mack. That is, until he meets Laura James. Laura, played by graduate acting student Kearstyn Keller, is the new boarder, and attendees see their relationship develop throughout the show.

Relationships between characters are tested and changes and experiences are had for many. This occurs not only with the family, but the audience sees relationships between supporting characters develop in different ways.

“Moving away from your hometown and being a grown up now is like ‘No, I don’t want to do it’ and so I really understand,” Keller said.

This show is an example of how even though families can be dysfunctional, love can still be found.

“I hope this play confronts people with their family dynamics,” Mack said.

“Look Homeward, Angel” is guaranteed to make audience members look at their families differently and appreciate them a little more.