Annie Russell Theater
By Stephan Karam
Directed by Thomas Ouellette
Winter Park, FL
The Kitchen Sink Drama is a alive and well, and living in New York City. Richard (Fisher Alexander) and Brigid (Kelsey Kline) live together in a rather large apartment in a less fashionable part of the city. There’s little light and a noisy upstairs neighbor, but the place is roomy and close to good Chinese food. Mom (Allie Furlong) and Dad (Stephen Lewis) are down for Thanksgiving, and they brought senile and wheel chair bound Momo (Sydney Pigmon) along for what may well be her last holiday celebration. Their other daughter Aimee (Kristen Edwards) drops by as well, she’s in a break up and has an embarrassing medical condition. In other words, it’s just like everyone Thanksgiving dinner, but with better lighting.
All families are unsettled in some way, and here we see a completely reasonable set of plausible interlocking tensions. Their foibles are important, but not so important that become bogeymen. Dad drinks too much, Mom eats too much, Grandma ages too much and Richard patiently waits for his trust fund to mature so he can do pretty much what he does now, but in better digs. At some point you will think “that’s my family up there !” And isn’t drama just like life, but with better lighting? Later you might consider: “what am I paying to watch my family up there /” Ultimate you do get a few surprises and conclude: ” My problems are just like theirs, but dammit, they are MY problems.”
A subtle subtext underlines this stock holiday. The parental units weep for their daughter’s loss of Catholicism, while the children weep that neither Catholicism nor their own ill-formed ideas will save them or the world. Dad’s strong tough guy attitude wears the best, even though he never feels s genuinely drunk. Mom is only stage fat, but Richard passivity and ability to agree with anything wears after a while. Our set tonight soared high up in the Annie Russell fly loft, and as the casts acts ten feet off the stage floor, there no guard rail as this production pushes the limits of stage safety. This is subtle production; one can get very far into it with a palpable sense of “Why are all these ordinary proles being ordinary? I paid for un-ordinary.” But the payoff does come and gives reflection on each of our own unsettled and untested lives. But remember – these are professional actors, but off stage they are every bit and messed up as you or me.
www.rollins.edu â€º annie-russell-theatre