Theatre returns to serve up comical critique: The Dining Room

Theatre returns to serve up comical critique: The Dining Room

Live theatre has returned to the Sunshine Coastline with the Driftwood Gamers generation of The Eating Place launching a run of eight performances at the Gibsons Heritage Playhouse on March 31. 

The two-act comedy of manners by American dramaturge A.R. Gurney is the initial in-person present by the Driftwood Players due to the fact their rendition of Good Night time Desdemona (Superior Morning Juliet) in 2019, soon right before COVID-19 shuttered the volunteer-led dramatic organization. 

“Driftwood Gamers has normally featured area newbie gamers, and audiences have appreciated viewing their mates and neighbours on phase,” claimed Dining Space producer Invoice Forst. “In the case of The Dining Space, the predicaments will evoke humour and pathos as the scenes slide in and out of the a long time of this residence.” 

The generation is directed by Mac Dodge, a veteran of various Driftwood Players productions, though Jeanne Sommerfield serves as stage manager. 

The play is established in a one dining room in the northeastern United States, and chronicles seismic variations to family customs and attitudes throughout the 20th century. In eventualities which are alternately comic and nostalgic, seven actors portray additional than 50 different people. (Extraordinary disclosure: Coastline Reporter’s Arts and Culture writer is a solid member.) 

“I have hardly ever been in a play in which I’ve bought a range from 87 [years old] to 12,” said Tim Anderson, who depicts a fading father figure as effectively as a giddy birthday get together visitor. 

In accordance to Mary Beth Pongrac, whose roles consist of a libidinous divorcée and a doting maid, effecting lighting-speedy character modifications demanded exclusive energy. “Playing various children and various ages has been the most difficult portion,” she reported. 

Scene by scene, The Eating Room serves up slices of lifetime from the society of middle-course white people as their feeling of entitlement steadily frays—the end result of improved social mobility and escalating self-recognition about the pitfalls of prejudice.  

The engage in, which premiered off-Broadway in 1981, was one just one of several published by Gurney that depicted the decline of white Anglo-Saxon Protestant techniques of lifetime by skewering its conceits with humour.  

In The Dining Area, a husband’s worry for household heirlooms blinds him to his wife’s drive for a total-time vocation. The punctilious hospitality of an aged matron gets to be the subject matter of anthropological study by her nephew. A relatives patriarch cautions his grandson about the perils of traveling the globe, warning that in his absence “some Irish fella, some Jewish gentleman” might supplant the family’s posture in culture.  

American isolationism and xenophobia are firmly in Gurney’s crosshairs, but wrapped in linen napkins and lit by the drop of afternoon light-weight from French doors. 

“I assume the engage in is provocative enough and delicate adequate that men and women are invited to chat about what happens in their eating rooms,” explained Dodge. “Like the time they went ingesting there, or the initial time that anyone came out [of the closet].” 

Rehearsals started in January, when it was uncertain no matter whether general public health orders would allow in-particular person performances. Throughout a few months of preparing, various cast members contracted COVID-19, which necessary prolonged absences.  

“As director,” explained Dodge, “I imagined this is likely to be a serious obstacle. But there’s been so a lot assist from the Driftwood crew—the props people today, the costumes people today, all the way. So I could concentrate on the performers and with any luck , give them what they needed to arrive up with a very good clearly show.” 

“It truly is good to be back again.”

The Eating Area plays at the Heritage Playhouse with 7:30 p.m. performances on March 31, April 1, 2, 7, 8 and 9. Two matinées are scheduled for April 3 and 10 at 2 p.m. Ticket particulars are at