Growing up in Buffalo, New York in the late 1930’s and early 1940’s wasn’t all that bad for ten-year-old Eddie. He learns the skills of how to fish and hunt and build a fire from his grandfather, while his grandmother shares her favorite motion pictures with him and gives him his first lesson in love. From his parents he learns to respect his elders and how to control his insatiable curiosity.
To meet Eddie and his extended family. Let A. R. Gurney be your travel guide as you hear his “Ancestral Voices” weekends until Saturday, November 19, courtesy of Square One Theatre Company in Stratford.
Eddie, the narrator, played delightfully by Steve Scarpa, reminisces about his siblings, parents and grandparents, letting the majority of their secrets mischievously out of the closet.
Just as their beloved city of Buffalo is at a crossroads, poised for change, so is the family undergoing its own metamorphosis. The sacred institutions of marriage and fidelity are being rocked from their solid foundations when Grandmother (Davina Poster) announces she is leaving her mate (Pat Leo) for another man. Now Eddie has to call this interloper “Uncle Roger” and adjust to changes that he and his parents, and especially Grandfather, are loath to acknowledge.
Family celebrations are now awkward and often have to be given double attention. Cocktail hours are now more than mere social occasions and alcohol is being used as a means to cope and forget. This prosperous Protestant clan is cracking along its seams and Eddie is chief witness and recording secretary. He sees all too clearly how his parents (Janet Rathert and David Victor) are trying to keep the family in balance and not allow it to splinter. This is a fine cast doing a splendid job with this staged reading, as directed with a skilled hand by Tom Holehan.
For tickets ($20, seniors and students $19), call Square One Theatre, 2422 Main Street, Stratford at 203-375-8778 or go online to www.squareonetheatre.com. Performances are Friday at 8 p.m., Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m., with a special twilight show Saturday, November 19 at 4 p.m.
Let A. R. Gurney and his young pal Eddie give you a guided tour of Buffalo and of one WASP family as it copes with changing times, the country’s and their own personal ones.