Welcome to the Family: Synopsis

Cast: 3 male / 2 female
Running time (approximate):
Approximately 100 minutes (not including interval)
Availability: Welcome to the Family is not available for production.
Acting Edition:
Welcome to the Family has not been published.

Act I


Josh Meizner (33)
Sara Coote (32, his fiancee)
Sir Peter Meizner (53, his father)
Vivica, Lady Meizner (41, his mother)
Lance Meizner (56, his uncle)
Josh Meizner, 33, is waiting for his fiancée, Sara Coote, to join him in a Revisitation Centre private room. Here people can experience and relive 'captures' of past events - essentially interactive holographic recreations of memorable moments.

Josh is rather incongruously dressed in his private school uniform and is soon joined by Sara, divorced mother of two, who is also rather uncomfortable in the girls' uniform for the same school. Josh explains this is because the 'capture' is to visit his late parents 15 years ago, recorded when Josh was still at school.

Josh wants to introduce Sara to his parents, even though they have been dead for ten years after both died in an unexplained crash in his father's private aircraft. Josh comes from a well-off background as opposed to Sara's working class background whose mother worked in the town planning department and whose father is a disgraced policeman. Despite their different backgrounds, they are obviously very much in love.

Josh explains the nature and limitations of the capture - noting he has visited his parents in the 'capture' a "couple" of times. He explains how the afternoons usually go, which will essentially involve them having tea with his parents as well as time for Sara to get to know his mother, Vivica whilst he goes shooting with his father, Peter - or Lord Meizner.

It also transpires the state-of-the-art 'capture' was provided by Josh's mysterious uncle, Lance, who is a pioneer of the technology.

The pair enter the 'capture' and Sara is astonished to be in
the extensive grounds of the Josh's family home. Sara sees the hill where Josh's parents crashed and Josh reveals more about the crash and how it was the first time his mother had joined his father in the plane and how no-one knows what really happened.

Enter Lady Meizner - Vivvica - who Josh introduces to his 'schoolfriend' Sara; who pretends to be attending the same school as Josh.

Josh immediately begins to 'big' Sarah up by announcing her mother was the County Planning Officer which impresses Vivica, who is less happy that the pair are staying for tea. Peter then turns up and decides they will all have tea in the garden.

Over tea, it's obvious to Sara there is a tension between Josh's parents. Vivica - originally a Florian - can trace her roots back centuries and the house was part of the family estate whilst Peter is from new money. During tea, the subject of Sara's mother comes up and Peter is less than impressed having been in conflict with the town planning department previously.

Josh makes matters worse by saying that Sara's father was not just a policeman but Head of Special Branch, which instantly makes Peter suspicious. When Sara changes to the subject to Peter's hobby of flying, he becomes even more defensive. The conversation also upsets Josh, who is obviously still coming to terms with the circumstances surrounding his parent's deaths. The events of the afternoon are already changing from what Josh would normally experience, thanks to the presence of Sara.

Josh and Vivica leave, at which point Peter turns threatening and accuses Sara of being an undercover police agent investigating him and presumes she is carrying a wire-tap. He makes a causal threat about shooting accidents before he and Josh head off clay-pigeon shooting.

A shaken Sara is left with Vivica, who is becoming increasingly drunk and who reveals her family history and that everything is now owned by Peter and that she was essentially sold off as his wife to help the Florian family's finances. She also implies Peter may not be Josh's father. Of all this, Josh has never been informed and is completely unaware.

At which point, Uncle Lance appears…

Act 2

Despite feigning surprise, Vivica has patently been expecting Lance and is one of the reasons she was annoyed at having to have tea with Sara and why she has been drinking. She leaves to get more 'tea' leaving Sara to chat with Lance whom she presumes is part of the 'capture'. After a chat in which Sara is unable to maintain the facade, it transpires Lance is not part of the 'Capture' but also visiting it. He's also not surprised at Peter's reaction to Sara, as he knows Peter has been involved in illegal activity for years and is now deeply paranoid.

He reveals that Josh has been visiting the 'capture' frequently but by bringing Sara into the capture, he's introduced a random element that is taking events along a different direction. Lance has also been visiting the capture but for rather selfish purposes, to have sex with Vivica. He hopes that now that Josh has found Sara, he may give up on the 'capture' and begin to lead his own life.

A drunk Vivica returns and reveals that Sara has interrupted her planned liaison with Lance and that he is not only a great lover, but also the father of Josh - something Lance has suspected but never had confirmed. Vivica also accuses Peter of mental if not physical abuse.

Peter and Josh return with Peter now suspicious of both Lance's motives for visiting as well as Sara; he reveals he knows that Lance frequently visits Vivica whilst he's away. Vivica returns with a bottle of champagne with Peter threatening Sara and Lance, telling them to leave after a glass of champagne. The 'capture' chimes it is about to end and Josh, Sara and Lance head back into the real world. As the 'capture' comes to a close, Peter confronts Vivica and reveals he thinks Josh has changed and that Vivica doesn't notice all that has happened.

Back in the Revisitation Centre, Josh and Sara change and Josh reveals he has visited his parents in the 'capture' 43 times, essentially always the same until this one in which everyone has behaved differently because of the precedes of Sara. Josh tells Sara he intends to visit them again that night.

Sara is left whilst Josh goes to get the car and Lance appears, realising Sara is having second thoughts about her relationship with Josh. He implores her to reconsider and that Josh patently loves her. She raises Josh's practical addiction to revisiting his dead parents, their troubled relationship and Lance's adulterous behaviour and the lies told by all. He tries to assuage Sara's doubts by noting what they have is real not a hollow capture and they should embrace and treasure it.

Still uncertain, Lance tells her he has also arranged for the 'capture' to be altered and that Josh's parents are no longer part of it and he can no longer visit them. As they leave the Revisitation Centre, Sara pauses and comes to a decision… "Oh, what the hell! Welcome to the family…".

Synopsis by and copyright of Simon Murgatroyd baed upon Alan Ayckbourn's Welcome to the Family. Please do not reproduce without permission of the copyright holder.