Thursday, February 23, 2017

Over the River and Through the Woods

We finally made it to see a performance at Ewing's 1867 Sanctuary performing arts venue. We were married in the 1867 Sanctuary in 1993 when it was still Ewing Presbyterian Church. If you are interested in the sordid tale of how it went from being a church to becoming a performing arts venue, google it. A couple of years ago it rose like a phoenix and became a fabulous performing arts center, where worship still takes place at least once a month, along with weddings and funerals.

We saw Joe DiPietro's "Over the River and Through the Woods." For Valentine's month, Theater To Go is pairing a play by a famous playwright alongside a play with a new playwright. To complete the pairing on March 3 they will do a staged reading of "Lawn Ornaments" by Mark Wiesenberg. He choose "Over the River..." as his pairing. Unfortunately we cannot see "Lawn Ornaments."

"Over the River..." is a loosely autobiographical play about Joe and his four grandparents. After his parents Jean and Lou married, their parents became close friends. Something I wish had happened in my life for my parents. He had Sunday dinners with his grandparents, and thought it quite normal that everyone had dinner every week with all four of their grandparents.

Lou and Jean are my parents' neighbors and came to the staged reading with them. The focus of the talk back shifted from the show we saw, to the behind-the-scenes of how much of the play was real, and how much was not. His mom said the scene where while playing Trivial Pursuit they came up with the right answer by the most circuitous path possible ("It was the one with the ears who dated the one with the face" and "he had the same name as that guy we met in FoodTown" "It was Shop Rite." ... ) as was the scene where the young guy had an anxiety attack.

I love it when audiences have a chance to break that fourth wall and ask the cast and director questions. It makes for a richer theater going experience.

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