Liz on Theatre

'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

Verona/Cedar Grove

Montclair Township Animal Shelter Reopens

June 17, 2018

MONTCLAIR, NJ - After a fire swept through the dog run of the Montclair Township Animal Shelter nearly two years ago, Montclair officials commemorated a reopening of the facility with a ribbon-cutting ceremony.

On Wednesday, the Township of Montclair, Friends of the Township of Montclair Animal Shelter and employees, welcomed the public to the ribbon cutting ceremony. The re-opening ...

Cedar Grove Police Blotter

June 18, 2018

On June 14, 2018 at 12:13 a.m., Ptl. Nicole Witel stopped a vehicle after a random license plate check revealed that the registration was suspended. A subsequent investigation led to the arrest of a 23 year old male driver from Montclair for driving while suspended. He was processed and released with a summons to appear in municipal court.

On June 16, 2018 at 7:00 a.m., Ptl. Raymond Cassella ...

NJ Teen Steers His Mustang Into Tractor Supply Store

June 20, 2018

MONROE TWP., N.J. — James Duffey, 18 of Garwood, drove his 2014 mustang through the doors of the Tractor Supply in Monroe Township, N.J. on Tuesday, June 12, about 12:30 p.m.

But it isn't what you think. Duffey is a lot like other high school Seniors. He likes to go out with his friends for a soda. In Duffey's case, his friend is a 4-year-old American Mustang he named "Star ...

Carnival Letter to the Editor

June 6, 2018

The 2018 St. Catherine of Siena Carnival was once again a great success thanks to another tremendous turnout.

On behalf of the SCS Carnival Committee, we would like to thank the entire community for supporting this event. It was a pleasure to see so many Carnival revelers having fun with family and friends.

We especially want to thank the Township of Cedar Grove, including the Clerk’s ...

Upcoming Events

Wed, June 20, 7:00 PM

Hospital Conference Room 2 (Ground Floor), Glen Ridge

Becoming a Parent

Health & Wellness

Wed, June 20, 7:00 PM

Mountainside Medical Center, Glen Ridge

Bariatric Seminar-Weight Loss That Works

Health & Wellness

Carousel_image_b4f18dfd4f07fd561026_letslisten7-ellington-mplspecs-revised

Fri, June 22, 6:00 PM

Montclair Public Library Auditorium, Montclair

Let's Listen to Jazz

Arts & Entertainment

Cedar Grove Seeks Zoning Board Members

June 19, 2018

CEDAR GROVE, NJ - The Township Council requests any residents who wish to be considered for membership on the Zoning Board of Adjustment to submit a letter of interest by Wednesday, July 11, 2018, to the Clerk’s Office, 525 Pompton Avenue, Cedar Grove, NJ 07009 or townclerk@cedargrovenj.org . Kindly include address and telephone number on correspondence. Contact the Clerk’s Office at ...