'What Stays' exposes family secrets and lies

668316f85edae018080e_Scott_and_Noreen.jpg
b177ee8cfe167705e609_Lunch_group.jpg
668316f85edae018080e_Scott_and_Noreen.jpg

‘What Stays’ exposes family secrets, resentment and lies

By Liz Keill

SUMMIT, NJ – In an original play by Laura Ekstrand and Jason Szamreta, the Dreamcatcher Repertory Theatre has provided an enlightening, funny and heart-felt view of family foibles.

Sign Up for E-News

Ekstrand has said that the germ of the play came from conversations with the ensemble members of the troupe, based on their own experiences. She notes that many of their members have been with Dreamcatcher for 20 years, an rare commitment in today’s rapidly changing world.

When the play opens, we learn that Dorothy (Noreen Farley) has sold her house and is downsizing to a two-bedroom condo. Her husband Robert has died and she is ready to start anew. Her adult children gather to sort through belongings, reflect on memories and learn more than they need to know about each other.

There’s a discrepancy among the family members.  Michael (Scott McGowan) is a successful lawyer, who thinks he never lived up to his father’s expectations. He’s found a significant other, the witty and warm Charles (Harry Patrick Christian.) But Michael isn’t ready to disclose to his family that he’s in a gay relationship.

Daughter June (Harriett Trangucci) has her own issues to resolve. She’s busy clearing out a desk, which holds secrets that she’s determined to share. Susan is played by Ekstrand, there to organize the packing and disposing, but going through her own marital crisis. Karen (Nicole Callender) is Dorothy and Robert’s adopted daughter, quick with a quip,

but dealing with some sort of medical/emotional trauma. Then we have June’s daughter, Emma (Brianna Kalisch.) She and Graham (Christopher John Young) are romantically involved and, before the end of the play, become engaged.

Sorting out these relationships takes most of the 90-minute play, which is set in a Victorian house in Montclair, NJ.

The cast works smoothly together, with each actor bringing a distinctive quality to the production. Because of their ensemble work, you have the sense that they are, indeed, a family. Farley is always a fascinating actress to watch and here she underplays her role effectively, especially when we learn about her own deception over the years.

Betsy True has directed the production with an even flow. William Ward’s set design allows a sense of moving from attic to bedroom to kitchen in a seamless manner. Zach Pizza’s lighting enhances the atmosphere.

“What Stays” continues at Dreamcatcher Theatre through Feb. 25. For tickets, call 800-838-3006 or visit DreamcatcherRep.org. The theatre is located at Oakes Center, 120 Morris Ave. in Summit.

 

Liz Keill reviews professional theatre in the New Jersey area, ranging from the McCarter Theatre in Princeton to Paper Mill Playhouse in Millburn. In addition to writing for Tapinto.net, she does theatre analysis for HometowneTV in Summit. She holds a Bachelor's in Journalism from Penn State and a Master's in Communication from Syracuse University. Liz is a member of the American Theatre Critics Association, which holds seminars at regional theatres across the country as well as in New York City.

The opinions expressed herein are the writer's alone, and do not reflect the opinions of TAPinto.net or anyone who works for TAPinto.net. TAPinto.net is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the writer.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

Plainfield

You Meet the Most Amazing People on the Trail

The weather cooperated this weekend, so I went for more than one hike. After all, there are only just over fifty days before my walk to Maine commences, so why not.

This Saturday, some friends dragged me away from housecleaning (thank you!) for a quick jaunt through Watchung Reservation.  While we were there, we ran into two individuals from Westfield; the cosplayers introduced themselves ...

Go Take a Walk

Friday, March 30 was Take a Walk in the Park Day, so I did.  I really didn't have an excuse to not do so; the sun was shining, I had the day off, and I had no plans for the rest of the day.  So after a session with Abbe, my trainer at LifeTime Fitness, I made the short trip to Lake Surprise in Watchung Reservation. 

As I made my way around the lake, it was easy to see how ...

Upcoming Events

Carousel_image_e72c4a9e1dfde31bc6f1_vet1

Wed, May 23, 8:00 AM

Plainfield City Hall Library, Plainfield

Kickoff Breakfast to Launch Plainfield Veterans ...

Other

Carousel_image_03f7e31b319ddd115b05_may_children_room

Wed, May 23, 3:30 PM

Plainfield Public Library, Plainfield

"Who Done It?" Mystery Program

Arts & Entertainment

Carousel_image_b5b50f86b329a7f607eb_national_ems_week

Wed, May 23, 6:00 PM

Plainfield Public Library, Plainfield

National EMS Week with Plainfield Rescue Squad ...

Health & Wellness

Holy Savior Cheerleading Squad Takes Season by 'Storm'

SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ – Holy Savior Academy’s (HSA) ‘Biddy’ Cheerleading Squad, the Storm,  recently completed their 2017-2018 season with a first place win in their division at Cheerfest. Held May 12 at Six Flags Great Adventure, the annual multi-state competition featured teams from throughout New Jersey. 

“This cheer season has been such an ...

Union County Celebrates National Trails Day with Free Guided Hikes and Activities, June 2

May 22, 2018

The Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders invites residents and visitors of all ages to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of National Trails Day at the Watchung Reservation on Saturday, June 2, where the County’s Trailside Nature & Science Center will host four different guided hikes and an Adopt-a-Trail volunteer activity along with special programs throughout the day for all ages. The ...

Peru Claims 1-0 Victory Over Colombia as Soccer Legends Show Off Skills in Paterson

May 20, 2018

PATERSON, NJ- During their playing days Carlos Valderama and Julio Uribe led their teams to victory in some of the largest soccer stadiums across the globe. On Saturday, the men, known better as “El Pibe” and Uribe, brought their talents to Paterson’s Baurele Field.

The rain did nothing to dampen the spirits of the nearly 500 fans who turned out to watch these beloved players ...

La campaña alimentaria anual de los carteros está lista para el 12 de mayo en todo el país

May 11, 2018

WASHINGTON, 2 de mayo de 2018 /PRNewswire-HISPANIC PR WIRE/ -- La Asociación Nacional de Carteros (National Association of Letter Carriers, NALC) llevará a cabo la 26ª edición anual de su campaña alimentaria el sábado 12 de mayo.

La campaña alimentaria Stamp Out Hunger® es la más grande con duración de un día en todo ...

School’s Out: Your Exclusive Summer Getaway Guide

May 22, 2018

Summer... a time to do whatever you please without having the stress of school or work.

But like many others, you may find yourself unsure of how to spend your summer days. So, if you’re looking for something cool to do when it’s hot, consider these ideas:

Get Cultured: Metropolitan Museum of Art: If you’re fascinated with art of all sorts from classic to modern, then this ...

TAPinto Featured Franchisee: Steve Lenox of TAPinto Paterson

This week's feature will focus on TAPinto Paterson's franchisee, Steve Lenox. Find out how the current owner of a public affairs firm went from a former State Director for Senator Frank Lautenberg to a proud TAPinto franchisee for New Jersey's third largest city.

 

Q. When did you join TAPinto.net?

I joined TAPinto.net in September, ...

'Turning Off the Morning News' brings comic twist

‘Turning Off the Morning News’ tackles today’s issues with a comic twist

By Liz Keill

PRINCETON, N J – Despite the late night comics, no one quite captures the insanity of the political/social status world like Christopher Durang.

His latest play, “Turning off the Morning News” hit the ground running.  John Pankow as Jimmy addresses the audience, ...

'To Kill a Mockingbird' Sustains Timeless Appeal

SUMMIT, NJ – The Summit Playhouse provides a stellar production of a much loved classic, “To Kill a Mockingbird.”

The Harper Lee novel, later a Gregory Peck film and now a stage production, retains all the warmth, intensity and integrity that made it such an appealing hit in the 1960s. And there will be a new production on Broadway in December with a script by Aaron Sorkin ...

The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah (St. Martin's Press, 2018)

            What is the “final frontier” on the Earth's surface? Many people would say Alaska, the 49th state, which was added to the United States fifty years ago. Once one has traveled to that remote land, it is impossible to forget the magnificence of the terrain and beasts. Floating by ship in Glacier Bay, surrounded by ...

The Man in Room 306 at the Luna Stage, West Orange, NJ

            The Luna Stage, a Jersey theater gem, chose to revive its 1995 world premiere drama, The Man in Room 306, to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the slaying of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  Starring Jamil A.C. Mangan as Dr. King, this 90 minute production portrays Dr. King in the last hours of his life as he struggles to write a speech for the Poor ...

Into the Water by Paula Hawkins

Into the Water by Paula Hawkins (Riverhead Books, 2017)

 

I wanted to like Into the Water by Paula Hawkins because I had enjoyed her previous novel, The Girl on the Train, which was a suspenseful thriller. However, when I finished reading the first part of the Into the Water, I realized that I had not absorbed anything that was happening in the story. I blamed myself for not paying ...

Retro Review: Johnny Got His Gun by Dalton Trumbo

Retro Review: Johnny Got His Gun by Dalton Trumbo (Citadel Press, 1970)

 

How does a reviewer do justice to a book called “the great American novel”? I first read Johnny Got His Gun during the Viet Nam war, when young people, nationwide, were protesting fighting in a war that was a senseless waste of life; a war in which the United States had no business participating.

The Truth About My Reading

The Truth About My Reading

I didn't get my Composition and Literature teacher at Montclair State College at all. A crusty old man with a dour disposition, Mr. Smith always seemed angry and rude. He appropriately intimidated freshmen, even me, an English major, who found this common core course beneath my dignity. Frankly, as a graduate of Highland Park High School, and a survivor of Mrs.

The German Girl

The German Girl by Armando Lucas Correa (Washington Square Press, 2016)

For each of the twelve million victims murdered during World War II there is a gutwrenching story to be told. I have read hundreds of memoirs, biographies, plays, and novels that recount the stories of the martyrs; some are exceptional, some are fair. The German Girl by Armando Lucas Correa, an award-winning journalist, ...