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Preserving A Family's Legacy

November 30, 2023

“I realize that beyond the rolls of film and the few good pictures, […] is the wish to take photography literally. To stop time. I want my parents to live forever.”
- Larry Sultan, 1992

Thirty-one years ago, photographer Larry Sultan published Pictures from Home, a striking photo-memoir that cracked open suburban life through a mixture of photographs, home video stills, and excerpts from family conversations. Now, FST brings this memoir to life with the regional premiere of Pictures From Home, a smart new comedy from playwright Sharr White.

“The play is distinctive,” said FST’s Producing Artistic Director Richard Hopkins. “You get to see this suburban family — a mother, a father, and their adult son — and get to know them in a deeply personal way.”

Coming to FST just eight months after its Broadway run, Pictures From Home introduces us to photographer Larry Sultan, following him on his visits to his parents’ home in southern California. Through a decade-long exploration of his family’s past, present, and future, Sultan collects the photographs and interviews that will one day make up his career’s crowning achievement.

“I knew that Larry’s parents letting him into their home for ten years to just photograph and photograph them—and the intimacy and the love of that act—had to form the core of the play. It also must have driven them crazy,” said playwright Sharr White in an interview with Broadway.com.

Pictures From Home gives audiences a fly-on-the-wall view of the family’s inner workings. Larry’s father Irving is a former business executive who spends his days practicing his golf swing. Larry’s mother Jean works as a real estate agent and is determined to keep her small family safe and comfortable.

Pictured: Gil Brady and Kraig Swartz. Photo by John Jones.

In this charming and witty play, the Sultan family learns to navigate changing relationships, the passage of time, and the effect Sultan’s photography project is having on their lives.

“It is a universal need to reflect on our upbringing, and to see our families from the perspective of our aging selves,” says show director Kate Alexander. “In the play, Larry invites you into his story and encourages you to examine your own.”

In addition to exploring the dynamic and often comedic nature of familial relationships, Pictures From Home also tackles the question of ownership, asking who really has the right to tell a family’s story?

“In the play, his father says, ‘It’s your picture but it’s my image.’ So, whose truth is it?” said White.

With a cast of three talented performers who skillfully balance humor with heart, Pictures From Home tells the multi-generational story of a tight-knit American family and how art affects the way they see themselves.

“Find that old photo of you or your family and contemplate it for moment,” said Alexander. “And then see the play. Even if you don’t find a ‘truth,’ you will certainly find a treasure.”

Pictures From Home begins playing December 13 in FST's Keating Theatre. For tickets and more information, click here.


Header Image: Gil Brady, Jean Tafler, and Kraig Swartz. Photo by John Jones.