When the Schwartz family gathers together in their Catskills home in memory of the death of their patriarch one year earlier, the results feel much less than family fun for the four siblings and their significant others. Instead of the perfect family, viewers see a family that lost some of their way without their father, and with it some of the traditional Jewish values that once bound them together.
The play has a close Florida connection: Playwright Deborah Zoe Laufer saw its first production run at Florida Stage Theatre. Since this time, it enjoyed a Los Angeles Times-recommended run (https://www.plays411.net/
Caplin, co-founder and executive director of Parade Productions, saw the 2002 debut and says the play never really left her mind. Years later, when the time was right, she set about producing it.
“When I left the theatre, I knew it was one of the best plays I’d ever seen,” she explains. “It was powerful, but at the same time very entertaining.”
While other families’ lives appear airbrushed perfection, the Schwartz family recognizes its dysfunction, even if they aren’t yet embracing it.
“There’s one line in the play where one character says to the other, ‘Why aren’t we a real family?’” Caplin says. “The answer is: ‘This is a real family.’”
Even if viewers do not find themselves in the characters, including passive-aggressive Herb whose wife has been unsuccessful in providing a family heir; the younger Gene whose clueless girlfriend parades around with a distinct Marilyn Monroe vibe; Simon, the high-functioning autistic brother; and Norma, the inflexible sister to her three brothers who turned her own son in for smoking pot, they’ll likely feel the universal truth that no family is a picture-perfect slice of American life.
Instead, through humor, subterfuge and all-out confrontation, the Schwartz family finds a “new normal,” even if that normal could hardly be called conventional.
“It’s hard to find a play where the characters are the undeniable combination of real and wacky at the same time,” Caplin says. “This play really captures that, and that’s why it has such broad-based appeal. Really. This piece is for anyone with a family!”
When You Go: Performances will be Thursday through Saturday evenings at 7:30 p.m. and Saturdays and Sundays at 3 p.m. Tickets are $35 and $30 for groups of 15 or more. Tickets are now on sale for purchase online or via phone (phone calls for Group Sales, please). The Mizner Cultural Arts Center Studio Theatre is located on the building’s second floor at 201 Plaza Real in Boca Raton.
For more information, contact:
Parade Productions Website: http://www.paradeproductions.org
NOTE: Photos available on request.