Hope you had a great Thanksgiving. My friend, Kyle Shaddok is a professional chef and cooked an AMAZING dinner--my only complaint was my inability to eat seconds. Guess that's a nice problem to have.
Last night I was at a free reading at the Abingdon Theater Company that was written by Jack Canfora and directed by Evan Bergman. The name of the piece is Jericho and I was very impressed. I will only briefly cover the plot as not to ruin it for future viewers.
The action centers around Beth (Kathleen McNenny), a woman in her mid thirties who is dealing with the loss of her husband who was trapped and killed inside one of the towers on 9/11. She is seeing a therapist but is having trouble letting go of the memory of her husband which is making it difficult for her to connect both emotionally and physically with her new boyfriend Ethan (Andrew Rein).
Ethan has asked Beth to join him to have Thanksgiving dinner with his increasingly dysfunctional family: his brother Josh (David Bishins), who himself was in one of the towers and narrowly escaped the same fate as Beth's husband. Since the accident he has grown increasingly fundamentalist about the Jewish faith and is actually considering moving to Jerusalem. His wife Jessica (Carol Todd) who has tried desperately to reach her husband but appears to be at the end of her rope and the two are all but resigned that a divorce is eminent. Last but not least there is Rachel (Susan Bob) who is the matriarch and the epitome of the Jewish Mother.
Needless to say, this becomes a Thanksgiving no one, including the audience will forget for a very long time. What makes this piece so well for me is several elements:
1) Humor--Michael Shirtleff in his classic book Audition says that all good drama must have humor. I couldn't agree more. This play is balanced with the correct blend of humor and pathos. Part of that can be attributed to the actors, who in my estimation were cast perfectly for their roles but mentioning them alone without giving proper credit to Mr. Canfora's witty, tight and well written banter would be telling half the story.
2) Dealing with sensitive subject matter--Mr. Canfora deals not with just one, he deals with a virtual minefield, all with the aplomb of an experienced writer. I myself was in a play about 9/11 in Washington Dc, less than two years after the event took place. It was a good piece but was too literal and did not allow people to see the big picture like this piece has.
3)--Surprising the audience with misdirection and reveals, but with deft writing and storytelling and not cheap tricks. Not an easy thing to do.
So all in all it was a treat. Evan Bergman did a fine job of giving these fine actors room to roam emotionally while keeping the whole piece moving in the right direction and pace.
Thanks to the artistic director, Jan Buttram, for coming and supporting this play and the spirit of this reading series. I don't know of many who would have done the same. Her passion and joy were infectious.
For info on upcoming productions check out: www.abingdontheater.org
Hey everyone. I've been in NYC for over 12 years. Before that...all over the place. Born in Pa, grew up in St Augustine Fl, served in the US Army, lived in Washington Dc and now I call New York my home.