Before the action of this play even begins, the Keller family is a family which has endured much. Their eldest son, Larry, died in World War II. In a strange twist of events, Larry’s brother, Chris, intends to propose to Larry’s former girlfriend, Ann.
Just to keep things in the family a little more, Larry and Chris’s father, Joe, had been business partners with Ann’s father, Steve. The two had been involved in a scheme which resulted in cracked cylinder heads to be shipped out, resulting in the deaths of twenty-one pilots. Joe and Steve had both initially been jailed, Steve is still in jail while Joe had been exonerated for his part in the crime.
Joe’s decision to commit suicide comes from guilt. During the course of this story, he learns that Larry’s death had been by suicide, due to his inability to deal with the crime that his father had committed and the consequences of that crime. Upon learning this, Joe is filled with pain, guilt, and shame, and he is simply unable to handle this cocktail of emotions. The realization that his actions led to the death of his son—as well as the deaths of sons from twenty-one other families—was too much to bear.
Kate was Joe’s...
wife, and her statement of “forget now! Live” speaks of Kate’s incredible strength and bravery in the face of the myriad tragedies that has befallen her family. It is her fervent hope that Chris and Ann will be able to pick up the pieces after this awful time and find happiness.