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Steven Culp in "Raised in Captivity"

October 20 - November 19, 1995

South Coast Repertory, Costa Mesa, CA

Playwright by Nicky Silver
Directed by David Warren

Kip Dixon - Steven Culp
Sebastian Bliss - Bradley Whitford
Bernadette Dixon - Julie Hagerty
Hillary MacMahon/ Miranda Bliss - Jane Kaczmarek
Dylan Taylor Sinclaire/ Roger - Matt McGrath

Titan Review
Variety Review
Los Angeles Times Review

America prides itself on being a child-centered society, and the notion of "family values" has become a touchstone of establishment politics. Yet a close look at many actual circumstances of American life reveals a society that favors powerful adults over needy children.


Explores the guilt and redemption in the lives of two estranged siblings when they re-unite at their mother's funeral.

We meet Sebastian Bliss and his twin sister, Bernadette Dixon, at their mother's funeral, after she was killed by an errant shower head. It is a reunion for the siblings, having not seen each other in years. After the funeral Bernadette can barely stop weeping, while her brother is merely irritated by what he feels is her humiliating display of emotion. We follow Sebastian to a therapy session with Dr. Hillary MacMahon, an extravagantly needy woman, who, upon hearing that Sebastian is terminating his treatment, dissolves into a morass of self-recrimination, ending with her stabbing her hand. All the while, Bernadette's husband, Kip, responds to the funeral rather mystically, deciding to eschew his dental practice and become an artist. Bernadette, now pregnant, is reduced to being Kip's model immobile on the outside, raging on the inside. Sebastian's only real contact with people is in the form of letters he writes to a convicted murderer, Dylan. Attempting to form another human relationship, Sebastian brings home a prostitute and ends up with his throat cut. As he lies bleeding, he is visited by his mother's ghost. Mother and son reveal secrets they couldn't tell while Mother lived: Her children are the progeny of a rapist; and Sebastian had, indeed, loved. Sebastian goes to his sister's home to recuperate and while there becomes obsessed with Dylan. As Bernadette and Kip prepare to leave for Africa with their new baby, Sebastian finally receives a letter from Dylan. In it he explains that his punishment has not alleviated his guilt, but that charity might, and thus he sets Sebastian free from his obsession. The lesson is learned again as Bernadette sets her husband free to pursue life with Sebastian's doctor, Hillary MacMahon, who had visited Sebastian at his sister's. As the play ends, Sebastian, who has decided to stay and be the baby's father, finally weeps for his lost lover, his mother and everyone he misses.

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