Written by Garry Michael Kluger
Directed byArden Teresa Lewis
"A Thorn in The Family Paw" is another play out of Theatre West's hugely successful Writers in Residence series.
Spanning the lifetime of what seems like the perfect marriage between Susie and Eddie, the play begins just after the war, with Eddie returning home to his young bride, fully aware how lucky he is to have survived and to be so loved.
Eddie joins his father in the family store and together he and Susie build a life, and start a family of their own.
The play seems a simple enough story, and it is I suppose, but the writer Garry Kluger tells these lives with such humor and affection that it becomes almost magical, the characters wise cracking their way through the scenes and through the years. The four acts cover four decades, the forties, the sixties, the eighties and the nineties.
Cleverly the couple in the first act is played by Kate Adler and Nick McDow, who do a brilliant job of conveying the love and deep connection between the young Susie and Eddie.
During the rest of the play the couple, now more mature, is played by Julia Silverman and George Tovar and the similarities between the four actors is actually touchingly real. Julia and George make a wonderful couple, George so sweet and Julia so funny and in love.
As the family's lives progress, though success, distance, illness and even death, we can feel the deep connections they have to each other. The daughter, Samantha, is played with a joyous sarcasm by the wonderful Heather Alyse Becker and the son, Jamie, a quirky gentle soul, is played brilliantly by Ian Lerch, and their relationship is beautifully portrayed and achingly real.
What is the purpose of this play? It's about a family not much different than any other. Well I would have to say that these mostly unremarkable lives we watch unfold before us are so precisely drawn this way to show us, perhaps, that what we might consider normal, steady or even a little boring about our own lives can take on an almost fable-like quality when watched through someone else’s eyes.
This is a family who's ‘lived’ truly, not perfectly, not sanely, not even close, but with authenticity, with care for one another and with a grace that only time and love can give us. There was a particularly lovely moment when Susie’s granddaughter walks onstage wearing her grandmother's old dress, played by Kate Adler, who played the young Susie…deja vu and goosebumps all around!
It was a pleasure to spend time with the Goodman family, in their family home, through their dark and light times and to see a little of myself in them and to perhaps to forgive myself and my family a little more because of it.
"A Thorn in The Family Paw" is a lovely and moving play and is playing at Theatre West, 3333 Cahuenga Blvd, Hollywood.
June 3 – 26, 2016 | Call (323) 851-7977 | Buy Tickets On Line
Susie Goodman/ Emily Gordon - Katie Adler
Samantha Goodman - Heather Alyse Becker
Jamie Goodman - Ian Lerch
Eddie Goodman - Nick McDow
Susan Goodman - Julia Silverman
Ed Goodman 0 George Tovar
Stage Manager - David Mingrino
Set Designer - Jeff G. Rack
Lighting Designer - Garry Micheal Kluger
Costume Designer - ArdenTeresa Lewis
Wig Stylist - Lisa Fabino
Assistant Stage Managers; Olivia Bates, Kate Davis, Dillon Mount.