Playwright Tom Dudzick's funny and serious 1990 play, "Greetings," shows us what can happen when a working-class, religious family finds itself at odds with ideas that are independent of tradition.
Playwright Tom Dudzick's funny and serious 1990 play "Greetings" shows us what can happen when a working-class, religious family finds itself at odds with ideas that are independent of tradition.
When Andy Gorski brings his freethinking fiancee home to Pittsburgh to meet his parents on Christmas Eve, the inevitable family explosion ensues. It's only his developmentally disabled brother, Mickey, who can see the light. That light, with the help of an oracular angel, becomes the miracle that pulls the family into an exploration of love and personal realities.
"It's a funny, heartwarming and thought-provoking play," says Evalyn Hansen, who is directing Ashland Contemporary Theatre's production. "Mickey's innocence brings out the best qualities in each character because they love and cherish him. At age 30, he's lived with his parents all of his life. He is sweet and inarticulate, and it's his wish for the family to be united. There has to be a miracle, and this is their Christmas miracle."
Performances are set for 8 p.m. Saturdays and 2 p.m. Sundays, Dec. 14-15, 21-22 and 28-29, at the Ashland Community Center, 59 Winburn Way, Ashland. Tickets cost $15 and can be purchased at Paddington Station in Ashland, Grocery Outlet in Medford, online at www.ashlandcontemporarytheatre.org or by calling 541-646-2971.
"This is a relevant play because there are religious wars breaking out all over the world," Hansen says. "People concentrate on their differences. This family is a microcosm.
"How it reaches its miracle involves a shift of consciousness similar to a scientific paradigm. The world was flat before it was round. It took courageous explorers to navigate that shift."
The ensemble cast stars Levi Anderson as Andy; Mig Windows plays his fiancee Randi Stein; Peter Wickliffe plays Mickey; David Mannix plays Stan, the cranky, but soft, father; and Diane Nichols plays Emily, Andy and Mickey's mother.
"The five actors have a communal chemistry," Hansen says. "When they get together, there's an infectious energy that flows off of the stage. It's a remarkable combination of personalities."
Craig and Beth Martin composed and produced music to be used at the performances.
"Andy's family's biggest problem is not that his fiancee's last name is Stein," Hansen says. "She seems to have rejected her own religion as well. When the spirit Lucius embodies itself in Mickey, the name is so similar to Lucifer that the family doesn't know if it's a good or evil spirit. That's just part of the meaty comedy in the play.
"Dudzick really has an eye for defining interesting characters within a comedic realm. 'Greetings' deals with important themes that include fear of change, dichotomous beliefs and the idea that if people could change a little each day, the world would be a better place."