When I walked into Stoneham Theatre in preparation for seeing "Sorry," I felt as if I had responded to an invitation to a family reunion. For I very much have come to feel at home with the Apple family of Rhinebeck, New York - and with their core values! Crystal Tiala's wonderfully warm set always reminds me of family gatherings at the homes of my grandparents or great aunts - folding card tables hauled out to accommodate the overflow from the dining room table groaning with too much food and too many relatives.
Richard Nelson has written a four-part series that lovingly chronicles the vicissitudes of the Apple siblings and their aging Uncle Ben. In this third segment of the tetralogy, the crisis is that Uncle Ben (Joel Colodner) has slipped so much that oldest sister Barbara (Karen MacDonald) can no longer care for him in their home. The family gathers to ratify the decision to move him into an elder care facility. The time is Election Day 2012 with President Obama facing off against Mitt Romney. Divorcee Marian (Sarah Newhouse) has a new beau, who is working as a poll watcher at the polling place next door to the Apple homestead. Youngest sister Jane (Laura Latreille) is missing her actor boyfriend, Tim, who has found a paying acting gig in Chicago. Baby brother Richard (Bill Mootos) is expected to give his blessing and final ratification to the decision to remove Ben to a home. Barbara is having second thoughts and feels awash in waves of guilt.
Ben and the nieces and nephew work on a jigsaw puzzle, and a memory is recounted of a long ago puzzle with a missing piece. What a lovely metaphor, for soon it will be Ben who is the missing piece in the puzzle that is this loveable and quirky family.
The theme of what to do with an aging loved one strikes a chord with virtually every audience member. Mr. Nelson has a keen feel for the vagaries of family strife that result from such a difficult decision, and Director Weylin Symes steers this wonderful cast through these rough waters. We feel the turbulence, but the vessel remains sea worth.
“I tremble with pleasure when I think that on the very day of my leaving prison both the laburnum and the lilac will be blooming in the gardens,
[Barbara interrupts Ben's reading to remind him: "We have lilacs in our yard, Uncle"]
and that I shall see the wind stir into restless beauty the swaying gold of the one, and make the other toss the pale purple of its plumes, so that all the air shall be Arabia for me.”
― Oscar Wilde,
|Joel Colodner as Uncle Ben|
Karen MacDonald as Barbara Apple
"Sorry" by Richard Nelson
Part 3 of The Apple Family Plays
Through March 13th
Photo Credit: Nile Hawver/Nile Scott Shots
Lighting by Jeff Adelberg, Sound by David Wilson, Costumes by Gail Astrid Buckley.
"Sorry" runs through this Sunday at Stoneham Theatre. You will be sorry if you miss it.
Stoneham Theatre Website