Our current production, Sweet and Sad by Richard Nelson, continues the story of
the Apple family of Rhinebeck. Last season, PAW audiences met the Apple family in
our production of That Hopey Changey Thing. If you saw that production, you will recognize the same six characters, and the same (save one) actors who portrayed them. If you didn’t see That Hopey Changey Thing, that’s ok. These plays each work just fine as stand-alone entities.
In Sweet and Sad, the Apple family is getting together again for dinner at Barbara’s
house in Rhinebeck. It is the 10th anniversary of 9/11. That tragic event was the crisis that drove Barbara from her longtime residence in NYC to the idyllic upstate hamlet, where her younger sister Marian and her family has lived for many years. Within a few years of the move, Barbara welcomed their uncle Benjamin to live with her. He is a renowned actor, now slipping into dementia, who was the only father figure the family knew while growing up.
There is a second younger sister, Jane, a writer, who still lives in New York City, with her off-again on-again partner Tim, also an actor. The baby of the family is Richard, an attorney who is settling into a new-ish job in the private sector, after leaving his position in the attorney general’s office in the administration of Governor Mario Cuomo. The new job is not a great fit for Richard, but he is making the effort to adjust to it, and to increase the college nest egg he is accumulating for his two young daughters.
As the story opens, the family is all a bit unsettled. For reasons we do not immediately understand, Marian has left her husband and moved into the house with Barbara and Benjamin. We hear that Marian’s daughter has recently, heartbreakingly, committed suicide, but there is no clear sense of why Marian’s marriage is also imploding.
These six people are all adult, rational people who are trying to do the right things, and who, as is common in our time, agree and disagree in unexpected ways. The events we have lived through are as likely to drive us apart as to bring us together. This play examines the power of family to face divisive issues and strive to remain steadfast in our love for one another. You don’t have to live in the Mid-Hudson Valley to identify with this play, but, for me, it added a special poignancy. We have lived these events. We are still living with them. And, in Sweet and Sad, Richard Nelson has captured the essence of the era and the dilemmas it reveals.
Rebecca Brown Adelman as Jane
Joe Bongiorno as Richard
Doug Koop as Benjamin
Chris Luongo as Tim
Maria Elena Maurin as Barbara
Sharon Penz as Marian
Performing Arts of Woodstock is a not-for-profit year-round local theater organization presenting new and established plays of quality since 1964, when it was founded by Eda Crist and Edie LeFever.
PAW is the oldest, continuously running theater organization in the history of Woodstock!
Now in its 60th season, Performing Arts of Woodstock has been mounting quality productions of both new and classic plays — artistically challenging plays such as True West, The Beauty Queen of Leenane, The Dresser, The Good Woman of Setzuan, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, Twelfth Night, Breaking the Code, Endgame, to name just a few from the last several years.
Performing Arts of Woodstock Board of Directors:
Adele Calcavecchio, President
Edie LeFever, Vice-President Emerita
Arlene Adams, Secretary
Jonathan Delson, Treasurer
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