A Prayer for my Daughter

  The Young Vic, February 2008


Coming back to the very dark:

The scene is a seedy police office in downtown New York. Into this grubby space come two police officers desperate to pin the murder of an old woman on one of two suspects. The problem is that the cops seem little better than the crooks. Kelly is an alcoholic while his partner, Jack, is a junkie.

As for the suspects, Sean is a former Vietnam medical technician who acts as surrogate father to his so-called “daughter”, Jimmy, an asexual druggie punk who is filled with a weird inexplicable charm and courage.


The play is an examination of the lack of clear boundaries between masculine and feminine, and good and evil. It quickly becomes clear that the two police sergeants have as many issues as the pair of murder suspects they are interrogating. Throughout the play, the two police officers increasingly blur the lines between right and wrong.

Left alone in the outer room, Officer Kelly instructs the suspect, Jimmy to strip naked, then takes him in his arms, and talks about his daughter, talks about how strange this is. Confesses that he’s excited by the embrace, even though it’s obvious that Jimmy isn’t.

Comments about this play frequently concentrate on a prurient interest in male full-frontal nudity. As with so many things, the obvious obfuscates the subtler inquiry and deeper examination into the characters and questions being presented. Stage plays are often studies of various aspects of human behavior … in this case, Jimmy’s is the more fascinating role.


And Sean Chapman’s surly dignity as the gay Vietnam vet is neatly offset by the flaky angelic charm of Colin Morgan …  (The Guardian-Billington )

The good news is that A Prayer for My Daughter looks great and could not be better acted, with each man having several chances to shine. If anything, in great company, Colin Morgan creates the richest character, following up the positive impression that he made in a similar role at the same theatre in Vernon God Little.  (British Theatre Guide –Philip Fisher)

… the waif-like and wasted Jimmy, whose twisting, twitching mood-swings and mix of half-druggy cackling punk and half-angelic visionary are brought to life by the brilliant Colin Morgan.  (The Independent – Paul Taylor)

…  I can safely say Jimmy Rosario is the most complex character I have ever encountered. (Alan Rosenberg)


 Author Julie Bozza has these insightful comments on the fascinating complexities of Jimmy Rosario as portrayed by Colin Morgan:

He seems completely mad; perhaps always vulnerable, and fey, and then driven off the rails by drug addiction. By the end of the play, however, he seems the wisest of the four of them.

… and that’s what makes him such a fascinating character. Not just the nudity, no. But that our perspective on his character seems to turn around one–eighty degrees. I really would have loved to see what Colin – such a subtle evocative actor – did with that.

From his first moments as vulnerable, immature, crazed and dependent – to these moments of hard–won knowledge, independence and a sense of hope in the new day. That’s one hell of a journey to take us on.


By far and away the most interesting and enlightening review is by Julie Bozza. I encourage you to read the entire review and herein provide the link:


Dark, yes, but there is therein, some light.


4 comments on “A Prayer for my Daughter

  1. Twosocks says:

    I like the fact that someone else used the term “fey.” I was fortunate to have found the copy of the script a bit back and read it. (It’s the one shown in the illustration on the Julie Bozza review.)

    I hadn’t realized there was supposed to be a Vietnam link, though not sure how important that was. This play definitely covers lots of territory. I would like to go back and read it along with Julie’s review. I am sure there is a lot more to discover. It seems like all the parts Colin has played have so many layers that you really need to go back time and again to them. And maybe new discoveries during different times in your own life. How wonderful to have these thought provoking and life long characters, not just a one time, let’s go on to the next new thing.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Twosocks says:

    Freeformmagic–“this is one of the best” –the word seems to be getting out.


  3. […] Jimmy Rosario: a young man strung out on drugs who is filled with a weird inexplicable charm and courage, and who, by the end of the play, shows that he is the wisest of the four central characters.           […]


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