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Vienna Theatre Company Over the River and Through The Woods

By • Oct 31st, 2008 • Category: Reviews
Over the River and Through The Woods
Vienna Theatre Company
Vienna Community Center, Vienna, VA
$10/$9 Seniors and Students
Through November 2nd

This is the Show Biz Radio review of Over the River and Through The Woods performed by Vienna Theatre Company in Vienna, Virginia. We saw the performance on Monday evening, October 27, 2008.

Over The River and Through the Woods is a play by Joe DiPietro. is a single, Italian-American guy from New Jersey. His parents have retired and moved to Florida. That doesn’t mean his family isn’t still in Jersey. In fact, he sees both sets of his grandparents every Sunday for dinner. This is routine until he has to tell them that he’s been offered a dream job. The job he’s been waiting for as a marketing executive would take him away from his beloved, but annoying, grandparents. He tells them of his intention to move and the news doesn’t sit well. Thus begins a series of schemes to keep Nick around. How could he betray his family’s love to move to a Seattle job, wonder his grandparents? So, Frank, Aida, Nunzio and Emma do their level best to keep him at home and that includes bringing to dinner the lovely and single Caitlin O’Hare as bait.

Over The River and Through the Woods is a show all about the importance of family. It had a few very funny scenes, while there were still many instances where Nick’s frustrations with his grandparents threatened to overwhelm the humorous situations with the grandparents. The production was very well acted, without becoming overly sentimental. The set was detailed and the lighting effects were well done.

Aida (Rose Declerq) was played well as the stereotypical Italian grandmother. She was a formidable presence on stage, constantly wanting to feed her family. Her husband Frank was played forcefully by David Segal. His face seemed to be constantly contorting into angry facial expressions that were comical.

Nick, the dutiful grandson, was played by Eric Storck. Storck showed the love he felt for his grandparents, he was very respectful, but was surprised when they took his news badly. The closing scene of the first act was fairly emotional, but Storck didn’t resort to histrionics to get the point across.

Emma (Adriana Hardy) and Nunzio (Donald Neal) also performed well. They were comfortable together and looked like they had been together for years. Nunzio was most open to Nick moving, and struggled with the decision of sharing with Nick some relevant news that may have helped Nick make up his mind about moving. Neal handled the struggle with aplomb.

Caitlin, the girl that Emma used to try to keep Nick in New Jersey, was played by Karn Henderson. Her role was a supporting role, but she played it well. The first time she came over for dinner she was not sure what to make of Nick’s family. She was ill at ease, but did not want to appear rude. Henderson was sweet and confident.

The set for Over The River and Through the Woods was comfortable and detailed. Real food was used for the dinner scenes. The walls were painted in comfortable, dark colors that gave the home the feel of family. The Set Designer was John Vasko, and the Set Painting Designer was Mike Smith.

There were also times during the performance when the lights would focus on one performer who would present a monologue while the rest of the cast would freeze or blend into the background. Lighting Designers were Ken and Patti Crowley.

Over The River and Through the Woods ran one hour and forty-five minutes. It is playing for one more weekend. Friday and Saturday at 8 pm and a Sunday matinee on November 2nd at 1 pm at the Vienna Community Center in Vienna, Virginia. No matter what kind of family you have, everyone can relate to this show.

Once you’ve seen the show, please feel free to leave a comment here on our website at ShowBiz Radio.net. We’d also like to invite you to join our free mailing list so you can stay informed with theater events in the DC Region.

And now, on with the show.

Director’s Notes

Tengo Familia! is a phrase heard repeatedly throughout this play. Translated into English, it means “I support the family.” But to Nick’s Italian American grandparents, it means much more. It is their “raison d’etre.” Without family, life has no meaning. Our grandparents grew up in a world where there was much uncertainty. The Great Depression, World War II and the Korean War. It was especially meaningful for immigrants like Nick’s grandfather Frank to work hard, climb the ladder to achieve “The American Dream,” and provide a better life for their families than that which they themselves had experienced. Even first generation Americans like Aida, Nunzio and Emma were indoctrinated by their own immigrant parents to believe that America was the “Promised Land” where anyone can succeed if they work hard and follow the rules. (Does any of this sound familiar?) So when Nick proceeds to follow his dream in an age when distance from family doesn’t seem to be a major factor in the pursuit of success, the grandparents don’t understand. They don’t grasp the irony of the situation. Their parents traveled long distances to get to a place where they could live a better life, but they cannot comprehend that maybe there is an even better life out there somewhere for Nick to grab hold of. What is the price we pay for this kind of success? That’s for you to decide.

I hope you enjoy our show as much as we have putting it together for you. It has certainly given us an opportunity to examine our own lives and family relationships. Perhaps it will do the same for you.

Cast

  • Aida: Rose Declercq
  • Emma: Adriana Hardy
  • Nick: Eric Stork
  • Nunzio: Donald Neal
  • Frank: David Segal
  • Caitlin: Karn Henderson

Crew

  • Director: Rosemary Hartman
  • Producers: Ken Perkowski, Bill Mullins
  • Stage Manager: Maryann Hall
  • Stage Crew: Jessie Roberts, Karn Henderson
  • Assistant Stage Manager: Jessie Roberts
  • Set Design: John Vasko
  • Set Construction: John Vasko
  • Assisted by: Ken Perkowski, Bill Mullins, Rose Declercq, Mike Smith, Karn Henderson, Dave Ford, Rosemary Hartman, Will Henry Mullins
  • Set Painting Design: Mike Smith
  • Costumes: Jen Stein
  • Lighting Design: Ken and Patti Crowley
  • Light Board Operator: Rob Wimbish
  • Sound Design: John Shea
  • Set Dressing and properties: Mike Smith
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started ShowBizRadio in August 2005 because they love live theater. They each have both performed in and worked behind the scenes in DC area productions, as well as earned a Career Studies Certificate in Theater from Northern Virginia Community College. Mike & Laura are each members of the American Theatre Critics Association, and Mike is a member of the Online News Association.

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