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Reston Community Players The Twilight of the Golds

By • Jan 23rd, 2011 • Category: Reviews
The Twilight of the Golds by Jonathan Tolins
Reston Community Players
Reston Community Center, Reston, VA
Through February 5th
2:45 with one intermission
$18/$15 Seniors and Students
Reviewed January 21, 2011

The Twilight of the Golds follows the agony of the Gold family as they struggle to decide how the results of a breakthrough medical test will impact their lives. The question they struggle with is “if your parents knew everything about you before you were born, would you be here?”

Boy, talk about thought provoking! This was a powerful story that that pulled no punches. Though the accents varied were not always consistent and the opera music (I thought “Bugs Bunny” myself) was a bit too much and somewhat distracting, the plot and characterization kept the audience engaged throughout the show. For the group scenes the actors all made good use of movement. Just when you started to get bored, someone would get up, move to get something, pour a drink, clean up, or shove somebody (in the case of the siblings, Suzanne and David).

Mr. and Mrs. Gold were played by Buz Gibson and Susan d. [sic] Garvey. Gibson’s character was somewhat typical brusque New Yorker, but without the overly hard edge. His bark appeared worse than his bite. His honesty in the second act was refreshing if hard to hear regarding his son, David. Mr. Gold’s wife, Phyllis was the clingy, and at times overbearing, mother. As Mrs. Gold, Garvey did a fine job of being there for her children, even if it meant sacrificing her happiness. Her confrontation scenes with her son and later with daughter Suzanne were both touching and eye opening. Phyllis was not the most honest, but she was mostly sincere.

The Gold’s daughter and son-in-law were played by Jennifer Lambert and Joshua Redford. Lambert did a convincing job of selling herself and her convictions. Lambert’s accent tended to come and go. It came when she was sarcastic and went when was angry. The same with Rob Stein who played Suzanne’s husband. He, too, was not overly emotional, which as a scientific researcher made sense, and made him a good match for Suzanne’s outbursts and yelling matches with her parents and brother. Redford played it low key, but did get his point across to the audience in the second act when he basically told off the Golds.

And that just leaves the Gold’s son, David played by Andy Izquierdo. Izquierdo knows how to break down that fourth wall and engage an audience. From the arm flailing, over the top set builder/tree painter, Izquierdo knew how to play to the audience. He also knows how to reach an audience through serious hearfelt impassioned speeches and monologues which he did movingly in the second act. The scenes with Izquierdo and Lambert were very well done, with believable bickering and emotion between the two.

Scenic Designer and director Andrew JM Regiec’s use of a rocky mountain as the backdrop to the Stein’s home was certainly appropriate and very interesting visually (I saw faces on them in certain lighting). Lighting designers Ken & Patti Crowley’s use of colors throughout the show to emphasize the story brought the show to life. Some of the music underscoring scenes was a touch too loud. And some of the opera music as David was talking was gratuitous, but part of the script. Without that music, the show would have been shorter and more focused. Darlene Schwartzman and Charlotte Marson’s costumes were well chosen, with similar styles and colors throughout. The upturned collars of David and his parents when in the kitchen helped emphasize that David and his parents were more alike than different.

The Twilight of the Golds was released in 1993, but many of the themes don’t translate well for the current day. Genetic testing is commonplace now, while acceptance of homosexuality is the norm. Minor nitpicks aside, The Twilight of the Golds is thought-provoking, especially if you’ve never considered the issues (and their consequences) before.

Director’s Notes

The truth will make you free – John 8:32, Jesus Christ

The truth will set you free, but first it will make you miserable. – Attributed to President James A. Garfield

We shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you mad. – Aldus Huxley

There is no god higher than truth. – Mahatma Ghandi

The pure and simple truth is rarely pure and never simple. – Oscar Wilde

There are only two mistakes one can make along the road to truth; not going all the way, and not starting. – Buddha

Jessup: You want answers?
Kaffee: I want the truth!
Jessep: You can’t handle the truth! – Col. Nathan R. Jessep, Daniel Kaffee, A Few Good Men, Aaron Sorkin

There are times when we think that what we want is to know the truth about something – but at the same time, we fear it. Be it some question we have of a parent, or a spouse, or a child, or a partner, or a doctor, or a friend. Likewise, there are things that we think and feel that we hope to never disclose to the one it impacts. These truths exist in the context of which they are instantiated. When the circumstances change, so can that truth. What we once thought and felt suddenly change when new information “new or additional truths” are brought to light.

There have been several productions that I have shared with RCP audiences that revolve around the concept of truth. For reasons apparent to some, this one strikes closest to home. And while the last few shows I’ve done here have been full of fun and froth and folly, this one you’ll find to be different but still, I hope, enlightening, thought provoking and enriching.

The Twilight of the Golds was the first show I saw at the Kennedy Center when I moved here over 20 years ago. I went o see it for two reasons – its stars: Jennifer Grey (from Dirty Dancing fame) and David Groh (who played Rhoda’s husband on TV and whom I had a crush on in my youth – which faded rather quickly once the curtain went up!). The play was mesmerizing to me; it played on so many levels, probably because of the times. It was at the height of the AIDS epidemic, before the days of Will & Grace or Brokeback mountain – when homosexuality caused more fear and misunderstanding than we care to recall. It was just when genetic research and DNA was becoming useful in science, medicine, and law. It was before stem cells research and Dolly the cloned sheep. The play touched on current, controversial topics and the lobby at intermission was electric in the first Bush era of conservatism. I brought it to the attention of several theatre groups soon after but at the time no one wanted to touch it; too many controversial topics. Funny how times change – here it is 20 years later and the topics are still just as relevant today but the support of mounting this production was overwhelming.

What we hope to emphasize in this production is the sense of family and how those bonds are formed, strengthened, and tested. And when the play ends, we hope that it is understood that just as with any ‘ending,’ things actually continue. And that in time wounds heal and truths are rethought. After all, at one time it was considered Truth that world was flat, and that cancer was incurable, and bonds broken could not be re-established – things for which we now, thankfully, have different perspectives. For just as Truth is an intangible concept, so is Hope. And Love. And while the play can get lofty with it’s views on these topics, we hope, it retains as one character puts it, ‘the story of one family dealing with a very private issue.’ The universality of which may enlighten us all.

-Andrew JM Regiec

Cast

  • David Gold: Andy Izquierdo
  • Suzanne Gold-Stein: Jennifer Lambert
  • Rob Stein: Joshua Redford
  • Phyllis Gold: Susan d. Garvey
  • Walter Gold: Buz Gibson

Crew

  • Director: Andrew JM Regiec
  • Producers: Amy Frank & Kaiti Parish
  • Assistant Director: Richard Bird
  • Scenic Design: Andrew JM Regiec
  • Costume Design: Darlene Schwartzman
  • Lighting Design: Ken & Patti Crowley
  • Sound Design: Richard Bird
  • Properties Design: Mary Jo Ford
  • Stage Manager: Eileen Mullee
  • Master Carpenter: Skip Larson
  • Assistant Carpenter: David Johnson
  • Carpentry Crew: Patrick Walsh, Tim Hinton, Leslie Tanner
  • Master Scenic Artist: Andrew JM Regiec
  • Scenic Artist: Christa Westall
  • Set Dressing: Jennifer Lambert & Andrew JM Regiec
  • Running Crew Chief: Laura K. Baughman
  • Running Crew: Jeff Bumgardner, Sara Birkhead, Thomas Huntley, David Johnson, Leslie Tanner, Elisabetta Saverini
  • Flyman: Rick Schneider
  • Properties Crew: Joanne Quam
  • Master Electrician/Light Board Operator: Ian Claar
  • Sound Board Operator: Rich Claar
  • Wardrobe Crew: Darlene Schwartzman, Charlotte Marson
  • Photographer: Joe Douglass
  • Showbill/Graphic Design: Ginger Kohles
  • Sign Language Interpreters: Quercus Consulting, LLC

Disclaimer: Reston Community Players provided two complimentary media tickets to ShowBizRadio for this review. Also, RCP purchased advertising on the ShowBizRadio web site.

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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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