ROX: You taking an advanced class in creepy? Is this your homework?
EVELYN: Of course he's not an alcoholic. Jews aren't alcoholics.
A newly blended family spends a nearly disastrous holiday together in their swanky but haunted home in Westchester County, NY.
Erik, a sullen teenager, wants nothing more than to get away from everyone and everything he knows. He's biding his time, closing himself off from everyone around him with his iPod and his video games. He hates his self-absorbed step-mother. His father, after being arrested on drunk driving charges, is completely absorbed in the early days of recovery from alcoholism and has no time for Erik's unhappiness. Erik's step-sister, who was not supposed to be home for the holiday at all, has arrived angry and violated. The housekeeper, Angela, is the only one with time for Erik and yet she does not truly understand him either. But the biggest threat to Erik's sanity is his dead mother, whose ghost has been wandering the house for years, knitting and making snide comments.
And then Evelyn, Erik's step-mother, brings home a life-size rag doll – once promised to her daughter, but whose ownership is now a matter of some dispute. The doll becomes the catalyst and the cause of much emotional trauma for the rest of the holiday week. She serves as a hiding place, a source of solace, a means for a dead mother to talk to her son, a sexual surrogate, and both a keeper and revealer of family secrets.
A very dark comedy about mental illness, alcoholism, and household spirits.
Cast: 4 women, 3 men, 1 woman's voice
Household Spirits has been presented in Steppenwolf's First Look reading series and the Goodman Theatre's New Stages Festival.
ROX: Why is he shooting Christmas?!