Wednesday, February 6, 2013

"ANCESTRAL VOICES" ECHO THE PAST, PRESENT AND FUTURE



When a woman of a certain age shocks her children and grandchildren with the announcement that she is divorcing "Gramps" to marry his best friend Roger, she creates a scandal and succeeds in being ostracized by the society of Buffalo where she had enjoyed a privileged place.  It's the years before World War II and conservative Buffalo is not ready to accept such outlandish behavior, and neither is her family, especially her precocious grandson Eddie.

A.R.Gurney has fashioned this tale of family and society through Eddie's captivating eyes, as a young boy who grows up as we watch, the world changing as he matures.  Music Theatre of Connecticut is treating us to a delightful staged reading of Eddie and the three generations of his own clan in "Ancestral Voices" until Sunday, February 17.

Michael McGurk's Eddie is wise beyond his years, interested in skiing and fly fishing, avoiding dancing classes and not writing thank you notes and keeping his favorite person, his Gramps, happy.  To that end, he sends both grandparents a Valentine, pretending to be the other, in the hopes they will reconcile (or reconsile, a misspelling that scotches his plot).

Gramps, an even tempered John Little, has not taken kindly to his wife Madeline's (Jo Anne Parady) desertion, especially with Roger, who clearly doesn't deserve her.  Eddie's parents Jane (Marty Bongfeldt) and Harvey (John Flaherty) try to make the best of a difficult situation but they are definitely on Gramps' side of the fence.  As the war looms ever closer, the tensions in the family rise and alter, not always for the better.  With the perspective of time, an older and now married Eddie reflects on how grandma's decision affected them all.  Kevin Connors directs this absorbing drama that plays out beautifully and effectively on the intimate stage of MTC.

For tickets ($25-45, $5 off for students and seniors), call MTC, 246 Post Road East, Colonial Green lower level, Westport at 203-454-3883 or online at www.musictheatreofct.com.  Performances are Friday at 8 p.m, Saturday at 4 p.m. and 8 p.m. and Sunday at 3 p.m.  Reserve your place now for the MTC Gala "Hooray for Hollywood" on Saturday, March 16 at 7 p.m. at SONO Studios, 18 Leonard Street, Norwalk, including Wine Bar, Hors D'Oeuvres, Light Dinner, Live and Silent Auction, Live Music and Entertainment, $95 per person.  Call 203-454-3883 for reservations.

Born in Buffalo, writing about his own grandparents, "Ancestral Voices" tells a story by that classic storyteller A. R. Gurney, so pull up a chair and listen well as nostalgia speaks to the heart.

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