Ron Cook, Deborah Findlay and Francesca in “The Children” (254198)
Credit: Joan Marcus photo

When I go to the theater I want to be entertained. I don’t mind learning about real-life situations that deal with serious topics. However, when I went to see “The Children,” playing at the Samuel J. Friedman Theatre and presented by Manhattan Theatre Club, I was not ready for the depth of sadness of this play. 

Although the play by Lucy Kirkwood has bits of humor here and there, and precision direction by James Macdonald, it is a depressing story of what happens when there’s an accident at a nuclear power plant. The audience experiences how the lives of the workers and the people who live near the power plant are affected. We learn through meeting three characters—Hazel, played by Deborah Findlay, Rose, played by Francesca Annis and Robin, played by Ron Cook. Hazel and Robin are a married couple who are retired workers from the nuclear plant, who lost their home when the accident occurred and have relocated. Rose is a person who worked at the plant in the beginning with them and has cancer. Now that the devastating accident has occurred, and the plant is a dangerous place to be, Rose comes back to see this couple to ask for their help. 

Why she’s back and what help she asks them for, I won’t share. 

I will warn you, however, that this play is not one I would recommend, because I don’t believe most people go to Broadway to get depressed. Plays are supposed to entertain you and although they can educate you, they shouldn’t leave you feeling sad and hopeless.