Play Nice! is a one act play by Robin Rice wich focuses on the power of imagination, especialy when used by adolescence in a dificult situation. The Diamond siblings are being raised by their abusive, single mother. One night Ms. Diamond is poisoned and she is taken to the hospital. While she is away the Diamond siblings ues their imaginations to figure out what happened to their mother, and who poinsoned her.
Despite the dark atmosphere of the play and its deep message their are several fun and entertaining elements of this play. We begin the play watching the younger two Diamond siblings playing a game of make-believe, a theme that runs the entire length of the play. If you have ever watched children playing make-believe then you understand how entertaining this can be. We also meet the character Joannie Calliope. She is a homeless poet who has quite a way with words (who is also a figment of the childrens imagination). I often found myself eagerly awaiting the next scene she would be in, wondering what unique way she would use to string words together this time. I do not believe entertainment was the main goal of the playwright when she wrote this particular play, but she clearly understood that in order to have an audience to impact you have to have a show that will entertain an audience.
I believed the primary goal of the playwright was to force people to think about several thigs concerning their relationships with others, particularly the relationship between parents and children. For example, Ms. Diamond often turns to threats, which often turn into both physical and verbal abuse, as a means of discipline. She also guilt trips the children and tells them how worthless they are without her. She puts her pride and reputation before the health and happiness of her children, displaying the human conditions of pride and selfishness.
We also see an example of childish innocence and faith. Children are notorious for trusting anyone, but especially their parents. Of course, parents should be trust worthy, and we are often taught as children that our parents know what is best and that they do what they do out of love for us. In the movie Silent Hill it is said that, “Mother is god in the eyes of a child.” This quote is saying that, just as god can do no wrong, a child believes that their mother also can do no wrong. This is what young Isabel Diamond believes. We hear her defend her mother several times, and we see threw her actions that she wishes only to make her mother proud because no matter how horrible her mother may be she is still her mother.
There are several intense moments in the play that refuse to let us brush off the message of the play when we leave the theatre. When Ms. Diamond hits Isabel, when Luce describes the way his mother dropped him off across the street from a mental institution, his voice chocked with emotion. These situations touch our hearts and prompt us to be more grateful for the family we have and to think more about others. We don’t know what goes on behind closed doors or what others have experienced. Rather than thinking only about ourselves we should strive to think of others, to be courteous, and to find ways we can put them ahead of ourselves.
Personly, I am not a huge fan of plays, I am most definitly more of a musical person. However, Robin’s production, Play Nice!, was quite captivating. I enjoyed every moment of it and would encourage you to see it should the opertunity ever present itself. You can read more about the playwrite and her works here at her website.