Listening to Silence

Cozy but isolated Northern State University has produced many illustrious alumni, but none more famous than the world-renowned singer Virginia Simmons. Born with the gift of voice, Virginia is urged to success by her lifelong friend Lorraine Cullen and delivered to greatness by her accompanist,Matthew Jensen. Bashful and unpretentious to a fault, Matthew guides Virginia through massive stage fright into a bold and dynamic performer. Virginia falls undeniably in love with Matthew, who is completely naive to her feelings toward him. When Matthew falls in love with another woman, Virginia is crushed. Matthew's love, Carrie, asks Virginia to be her maid of honor, and Virginia accepts. However, the night before the wedding, heartbroken Virginia disappears and spends the next twenty years hoping that Matthew and Carrie forgive her. After cancer tragically takes Carrie's life, Matthew finds himself a single parent to his young daughters, Shelly and Claire. He helplessly falls into depression so profound that he unwittingly abandons his children, leaving them to face the obstacles of growing up without their father being an active presence in their lives.

As Shelly and Claire enter adulthood, they have come to loathe their father, but the dysfunction of this family comes to the keen attention of the indomitable Lorraine Cullen, who coordinates an evening of intervention, enlisting the help of Virginia and Matthew's close friends from their Northern State days. It is an intense evening of tears, denial, and finally acceptance as Virginia, Matthew, and his daughters finally understand that forgiveness is the greatest gift of all.

--Philip Marks

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