Sunday, January 07, 2007

Both Sides of the Family (Charenton Theater)

‘BOTH SIDES OF THE FAMILY,’ a thought provoking probe at Charenton

She is an Episcopalian, married to a Jew, who is bringing up her daughter in the Hebrew faith.

He is a Jew, married to a Catholic, who is feeling guilty because he knows little about his heritage, has allowed his son to be brought up out of the faith, realizes that he wants to probe his roots, and is frustrated because he can’t pass on his history to his son.

Thus, we have the premise for Maryann Elder Goldstein’s ‘BOTH SIDES OF THE FAMILY, which recently had its world premiere at Charenton Theater Company.

The one-hour play, has an interesting format. Its two characters, who are on stage throughout the production, never speak to each other, don’t interact, and only at the end have a passing but significant connection.

Both humorous and poignant, Goldstein has probed not only inter-religious marriage, but the purpose of religion, the importance of tradition, and the bond of family. The dialogue is natural. The humor is appropriate to the situation, not gimmicky. The angst is nicely developed. This is a good script!

The Charenton production, under the adept directing of Jacqi Loewy, is nicely paced, the concepts stand out, and the acting realistic. Author Maryann Elder Goldstein, who may well be playing her real-life self, is totally believable as She. Jeff Grover, who, besides playing He, added material to the script. He was realistic as the frustrated He.

Capsule judgement: ‘BOTH SIDES OF THE FAMILY’ is a well-written script which received a fine production at Charenton.
Charenton, which finds itself in the same nomadic state as Ensemble and Dobama, is looking to make their home in Gallery 324 at the Galleria. They are looking for an “angel” to finance their desire into a reality. Potential donors may contact the theatre at www.cherenton or call 216-469-9160.