5 Baritones, Bass, 2 Mezzo Sopranos, Soprano, 2 Tenors
A tale of the destructive anguish that inevitably consumes the unforgiven and the unforgiving. Historian Lyman Ward is suffering from a crippling disease, one his wife is unable to deal with; she deserts him. Retreating, he decides to write the history of his grandparents, hoping to find meaning in his life from studying theirs. His daughter Shelly ends an unsuccessful relationship and seeks solace with her father. Her mother soon expresses wishes to come home, but Lyman is unwilling to forgive her. Lyman begins to describe his book, revealing the details of his grandmother’s (a minor literary figure) and his grandfather’s (an engineer) lives of unhappiness, betrayal, infidelity, abused loyalty, guilt, and tragic death. Throughout their marriage, the grandparents never grasped the compassion of forgiveness and its critical significance, thus destroying the possibility of a gracious life together. This realization makes Lyman acutely aware of his situation and anxious to make amends. He is reunited with his wife, with their daughter’s blessing.