Curtain Call’s “All the Days” is an Experience Worth Sharing
LATHAM – Sharyn Rothstein’s All the Days currently at Curtain Call Theatre in Latham is an interesting, sometimes quite humorous, often times sad look at the life of a dysfunctional family.
The story revolves around Miranda Zweigman, magnificently portrayed by Joanna Palladino. She comes from a home of divorced parents, is herself divorced, and has a mother, Ruth, who is outspoken, somewhat emotionally crippled, and makes no bones about telling Joanna that her brother David, dead just six months, was “her everything.”
Everything that Ruth does and says reverts back in some fashion to David, including the many conversations she has with him throughout the play. Miranda, too, has many conversations with David, though hers tend to be more confrontational than Ruth’s laudatory ones. They each carry many large pieces of baggage with them in their relationships with everyone. Palladino’s performance becomes a master class in how an actor actually listens to the characters on the stage and reacts to them, not simply spewing out lines.
Ruth lives in New York and in many ways should no longer be alone. She is overweight, diabetic, and suffering many of the consequences of the disease. Melissa Putterman Hoffman’s Ruth is bitter, scared, scarred, and hanging onto every last shred of independence she can muster to prove that, since David left her, she is perfectly capable of being alone. Hoffmann’s portrayal is so dead on, you almost feel uncomfortable that you are being let into this woman’s life. All of us know a Ruth or a piece of the Ruth on the stage. She handles the part with finesse and skill never pushing to the point of melodrama or kitsch. The performances of these two women alone make this play well worth the price of admission.
The cast is bolstered by a strong supporting group. Isaac Newberry is Stewbert, Miranda’s significant other of the past two years, whom she has kept secret from her mother as she was not interested in her criticism. He is lovable and odd, and just when you think perhaps spineless, he shows his metal.
Sorelle Brauth makes her Curtain Call debut as Ruth’s sister Monica. Often the butt of Ruth’s vicious tongue, she attempts to be the family peacemaker, mediator, and general family optimist. She is all too well aware that her sister is, at the very least, a handful to deal with and oftentimes simply impossible. She deals with her by not dealing with her with any frequency.
John Sutton is Ruth’s blind date, Baptiste, and Howard Schaffer, Del, Ruth’s ex-husband. Neither strangers to the Curtain Call stage, their professionalism and talent bring this production to an even keel of excellence.
Eric Bialwas is Jared, Miranda’s son about to become a Bar Mitzvah and the force that brings all of the characters together. He makes his debut in an adult comedy here and is fortunate to have such wonderful talent around him to watch, observe and learn from.
Tightly directed by Steve Fletcher, this is the story of how generations of dysfunction breed generations of dysfunction. Fletcher gives his cast members their moments in the sun, allows them to shine, and keeps the action of the play moving along. He knows how to bring out the best, and sometimes the worst in each character to the ability of the actor inhabiting the role. Overall, from a performance standpoint, this production does not disappoint.
Technically, the downside of the show came from its sets. For the first time in a long time, Curtain Call has missed the boat with its scenic design. William Fritz’s sets leave you cold. They are too spartan, sometimes awkward, and never particularly convincing in establishing homes that are warm or inviting. Beyond that, once again, Curtain Call has scored well as they continue to present regional premieres in their 30th anniversary year. This production shows once again how the quality of their work continues to add to their longevity in the community.
Rothstein’s play will force you to think inwardly, laugh outwardly, and perhaps see yourself or someone you know on the stage in front of you.
All the Days runs through November 27. For ticket information, call the box office at 518-877-7529, or www.curtaincalltheatre.com. Masks are required in the theatre.