Saturday, September 20, 2014

Almost Home @ The Acorn Theatre @ Theater Row

In an hour and twenty minutes, Almost Home, by Walter Anderson, does what not even the activists of OWS could do: demonstrate how the State, whether the federal government or the local police force is at the very core coercive, fraudulent, and the corrupter of men’s souls. Wow! Every Millennial should go see this production to know what road not to take.
Set in the Bronx in 1965, Joe Lisi (Take Me Out, London production) as Harry, a pathetic, loser-of-a-man whose dignity hangs in the hopes of his equally pathetic son, Johnny, played by Jonny Orsine (The Nance) demonstrates how repeated compromises of one’s moral principles, assuming one has them to begin with, has collateral damage spanning beyond oneself. A poor example of a man and a father, he is able to blame the indecency of war for his shortcomings. And his son follows right in his footsteps.
James McCaffrey (“Rescue Me”) plays the dirty cop, Pappas, and serves as a contrast to the women in these men’s lives. Wife and mother, Grace, appropriately named, is played by Karen Ziemba (Tony Award winner for Contact). She is seamless in her portrayal of patience, kindness, and forgiveness. Together with young Johnny’s former teacher, Luisa, played by Brenda Pressley (The Lyons) who is steadfast in her commitment to education as well as Johnny’s well-being, these women demonstrate the bravery that is required to tolerate the misdeeds of foolish men who are beholden to fraternal brotherhoods at the root of evil perpetrated by government.
I look forward to reading the play to see if the intent by the writer was so clearly subversive or if director, Michael Parva (Murder in the First) took license. Either way, with nearly 100 years of continual war by the US Government, the tragedy, loss, and devastation is as relevant whether set in 1945, 1965, or 2015. Kudos for your not-so-subtle attack on the puppeteers and the men who volunteer.
Set design by Harry Feiner looked like something out of “Ozzy and Harriet” with a genuine 1965 Corn Flakes cereal box atop the fridge. Michael McDonald did costume design and together with Leah J. Loukas who did wig and makeup, did a particularly lovely job on the ladies. Lighting by Graham Kindred served as an equal element to the production. Sadly the sound done by Quentin Chiappetta was undermined by the exterior street noise- I suggest house right.
Opening night was September 18th and is set to run through October 12th. So take mom and dad to The Acorn Theatre and then prepare yourself for exciting dinner conversation to follow.

Review By: Michele Seven
Photos By: Carol Rosegg

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