Shuying Li

Lila Palmer

Performance forces:
sop, mez, bar — fl, cl, vln, vc, pno



Esme and Marcus have a marriage made stronger by their shared experience of being child adoptees from conflict zones. At the beginning of Bloodlines Marcus is concerned that his wife Esme, a case worker at an international aid agency, is hiding something from him, which she has hidden in their bedroom. After discovering Marcus searching her things, Esme confesses she has received a mysterious package at work that relates to her biological family, which she does not want to read. Marcus seems troubled by the information. At work the next day Esme’s boss at the NGO offers her a promotion, but only if Esme comes clean about her past. Esme explains she doesn’t want to know about a family or a country she never knew, but Sara insists that both she and Esme must have all the facts about Esme, to protect the charity from the possibility of scandal. Opening the envelope in Sara’s office, Esme discovers that her husband is her brother, and that their children are the product of primary incest. Returning home Esme confronts Marcus, who confesses he learned the truth several years into their marriage, but concealed it to shield her and their healthy children from the shame of their innocent mistake. Esme realizes that Marcus continues to love her both romantically and as a sister, and must decide whether she can do the same, or take apart their life together for the sake of an unwelcome truth. (By Lila Palmer)