Themes and Meanings

(Survey of Dramatic Literature)

Reckless is an “antirealistic” play: It does not intend to portray slice-of-life realism but instead focuses attention on a fantasy dreamworld, where events occur that could never happen in real life. Some critics fault the play because of the improbability of the events. Probability, however, is not Craig Lucas’s intention. In the first scene, Rachel says to her husband that the falling snow is a big white monster that is going to carry them away into a dream. The audience is unclear if the rest of the play might be that dream. As W. A. Henry wrote in his Time magazine review of the play, “Only Lucas . . . understand[s] how to make something beautiful out of a dream walking.”

Reckless is a radical experiment. It takes the audience on a bizarre odyssey that emphasizes the ridiculousness and randomness of life. The play has two central themes: the need both to accept and cope with the “recklessness” of life and to appreciate that life is a journey of discovery. The play has been compared to such literary works as The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (1900), Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (1865), and the film It’s a Wonderful Life (1946). It has the “dream” aspects of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz and Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, in which one lives a “black and white” existence until a cataclysmic event hurls the person on a journey to colorful Springfield (or Oz...

(The entire section is 474 words.)