Jeremy O’ Brien, Rich Williams, Chase Gregory, Alice Chiles, & Katie Graviss Bechtler. Photo: Bunbury Theatre
By Tom Dudzick
Directed by J. Barrett Cooper
Review by Annette Skaggs
Entire contents copyright © 2018 Annette Skaggs. All rights reserved.
Ah, the Holidays!! When we deck our halls, trim the tree, or light the menorah and prepare for our loved ones to come home to revel in the miracle that is this time of the year. Such is the case for the Gorski family of Pittsburgh. Housewife Emily Gorski (Alice Chiles) is busily preparing the table for the Christmas dinner while her husband, former baseball player Phil (Rich Williams) is staying out of the way by futzing around the basement. Meanwhile, their son Mickey (Chase Gregory) is fascinated by setting up the family’s Nativity scene.
As Phil makes his way up and looks about, he fusses about the lack of Christmas cheer that his fellow neighbors have in that they don’t put up Christmas lights. The Gorski house is illuminated. As Emily tries to calm Phil down she shares that their son Mickey hasn’t been himself, but Phil dismisses her. When all is once again quiet son Andy (Jeremy O’Brien) comes in with his ladylove, Randi Stein (Katie Graviss Bechtler).
The family is, of course, excited to know more about Randi and the onslaught of questions begin. The religiously steadfast Gorski family assume that Randi is Jewish, only to learn that she is an Atheist. This revelation sets off a firestorm of conflict.
Mickey is a special needs young man who, before then, only communicated with a few short phrases. After the dinner table conversation escalates into chaos, Mickey unexpectedly shouts “Greetings!”, and all of sudden he is speaking eloquently and, curiously, with a European accent.
I’m not going to lie, I found the premise of Mickey’s transformation a bit out there, but after reconsidering it I’ve concluded that writer Tom Dudzick may have stumbled upon a clever way of expressing the Biblical image, “And the little child shall lead them…”. What transformed Mickey also sheds light on prejudice and ignorance within the Gorski family and Randi. Upon realizing that a new way of thinking, a new age of believing needed to be employed, the family once again connects with the Mickey they know.
The actors all did admirably well, but hats off to Chase Gregory who was able to deliver Mickey in such a complicated manner.
There are certainly some thoughtful takeaways from this delightful play directed by J. Barrett Cooper. There are also moments that make you smile and laugh, too. While I liked what J. Barrett did, I found the scene changes a bit laborious. I don’t think it would have harmed anyone had the dinner still be sitting on the table. Also, the actors were still a little unsure of how to exit the stage. Set design by Bob Bush was fantastic. I really felt that I was sitting in a middle-class suburbia living room. Hannah Greene’s costuming and props were very appropriate for the family dynamic, all the way down to the religious artifacts strewn throughout the house.
Greetings! is a lovely and unusual addition to Louisville’s busy holiday theatre schedule.
November 30, December 1, 6, 7, 8, 13, 14, & 15 @ 7:30 PM
December 2, 9 & 16 @ 2:00 PM
Bunbury Theatre Company
The Henry Clay Theatre
604 South Third Street
Louisville, KY, 40202
Annette Skaggs is heavily involved as an Arts Advocate here in Louisville. She is a freelance professional opera singer who has performed throughout Europe and in St. Louis, Cincinnati, Boulder, Little Rock, Peoria, Chicago, New York and of course Louisville. Aside from her singing career, she has been a production assistant for Kentucky Opera, New York City Opera, and Northwestern University. Her knowledge and expertise have developed over the course of 25+ years’ experience in the classical arts.