Friday, March 24, 2023
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This Day Forward - marriage on the rocks off-Broadway

Oscar E. Moore “from the rear mezzanine” for Talk

This new play by Nicky Silver could be subtitled REGRETS. In the absurd first act we find Irene (Holley Fain) and newlywed husband Martin (Michael Crane) having a face off in a room at the St. Regis Hotel on their nuptial night circa 1958. He is wealthy. He is Jewish. He is about to be very unhappy. You might be too and have a strong desire to leave.

In the beautiful Allen Moyer designed room an extremely nervous Irene wearing her beautiful Kaye Voyce designed wedding gown has a confession to make to her brand new loving husband Martin who tries his best to get her beneath the sheets. After all they have just said “I do” and should be celebrating happily. But then there is out-of-the-blue “confession” from Irene.

What follows is vintage TV sitcom silly. Third rate Neil Simon.

Emile (Joe Tippet) a handsome and virile gas station worker shows up. The heavily accented and very amusing maid Melka (June Gable) shows up - bellhop son Donald (Andrew Burnap) in tow. Mrs. Schmitt (Francesca Faridany) shows up briefly as Martin and Irene try to come to some agreement as we hear the back stories of those involved.

It’s all light and superficial. Not plausible nor believable. However the acting is convincing. And then all of a sudden in Act II everything begins to make sense. Sort of.

It is 46 years later. On a brand new set – the high rise Manhattan apartment of Irene and Martin’s son Noah (Michael Crane) where he reluctantly awaits his mentally unravelling mother (June Gable) and his fed-up-with-taking-care-of-her sister Sheila (Francesca Faridany) along with his sexy actor boy-toy lover Leo (Andrew Burnap).

All of the actors convincingly convey their new found characters with warmth and honesty. And humor. Especially June Gable who gives a commanding performance. The dialogue sounds different. Real. Mr. Silver has captured both periods exactly and has created a theatrical coup with his double part casting.

There are more back stories and arguments as we learn the heartache behind that initial “I do” between Irene and Martin. It’s quite sad, believable and touching. Each act nicely directed by Mark Brokaw with its own and quite unique tone.

Do the right thing for yourself when you find someone to share your life with. It’s a major decision and you must do what feels right. What is right and honest and not live a make-believe life full of regrets.

The older Irene gives out some sage advice that makes THIS DAY FORWARD worth a trip to the Vineyard Theatre. She is not so mentally disabled.

Photo: Carol Rosegg

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