RANDY DANSON AND ARIELLE GOLDMAN IN "LEWISTON"
PHOTO BY T. CHARLES ERICKSON
The reluctant relationship between two tentative and unlikely roommates is a tinderbox waiting to explode in Samuel D. Hunter’s world premiere drama “Lewiston.” Long Wharf Theatre’s Stage II will set off a series of fireworks displays until Sunday, May 1 as it explores connections and disconnections as a family is created, destroyed and reassembled in an entirely new way.
Set in a small town in Idaho, where the memories of the long ago mission of explorers Meriwether Lewis and William Clark still resonates, Hunter investigates the question of history and heritage on modern day descendants. When President Jefferson requested Lewis lead a great adventure into the west to explore the animals, plants and people in the newly acquired Louisiana Purchase, he could not have anticipated the toll in hunger, illness, injury and Indians that would plague the expedition of 1804. That 8000 mile journey into an unknown continent is still being examined two hundred years later by its direct heirs.Alice has clung to her cattle ranch in Lewiston, selling off bits and pieces until it’s now a mere twenty acres, with a small homestead and a fading and failing fireworks stand. Like a prickly cactus plant, she offers a gruff exterior, one that conceals kindness within. Alice shares her home with Connor, in a symbiotic relationship that has worked for years, each giving the other a completeness they would not have realized alone.Randy Danson’s Alice and Martin Moran’s Connor are on the verge of finally achieving a level of financial freedom. A large subdivision is under construction and Alice holds the last few acres, a parcel she can parlay into a brand new condo, hopefully by the pool. Her carefully negotiated plans erupt like the fireworks, the cracklin’ balls, cat tails, golden showers and smoke bombs she sells, when a young girl appears on her property. Arielle Goldman’s Marnie has her own ties to the land in question. It’s where she was born and where her mother Katherine died, by killing herself. Marnie is Alice’s long estranged granddaughter and she has come home on a mission. Her mother Katherine’s words, preserved on tape by Lucy Owen, reveal how her recreation of the original Lewis and Clark expedition to the Pacific Ocean was a goal and, ultimately, a great disappointment to her. Now Marnie must take a stand to achieve her dream of preserving her heritage.Director Eric Ting lets us understand how tenuous each person’s hold on the land is and how vital it is to guard it for dear life. For tickets ($30.50-75.50), call Long Wharf Theatre, 222 Sargent Drive, New Haven at 203-787-4282 or online at www.longwharf.org. Performances are Tuesday at 7 p.m., Wednesday at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m., Thursday and Friday at 8 p.m., Saturday at 3 p.m. and 8 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m and 7 p.m.Let a fine trio of actors take you on a short journey of remembrance and self-discovery as they find their own place in the Idaho landscape of life.