Amy Herzog’s Pulitzer-prize nominated play begins with 21 year-old Leo’s unexpected arrival at 3:00 a.m. for a one-night stop at his 91 year-old Grandma Vera’s West Village apartment. It’s the final destination on his cross-country bicycle trip. Vera’s a card-carrying communist with a lifetime full of experiences that fascinate Leo, and curiosity leads him to an extended stay. Light years apart generationally speaking, Vera and Leo connect through annoying and mystifying each other daily, and become one at heart in a brief period of time.
Vera’s body may be failing but her mind is still sharp. Sometimes she does, however, become frustrated that she can’t “find the words” as easily as she once did.
Deborah Persoff leads the four-person cast in a tour de force as Vera. Persoff embodies this 91 year-old character with physiological, verbal and facial expressions that are utterly congruent and masterfully convincing. There are exquisite moments in Ms. Persoff’s luminous performance that sparkle with zest and vivacity.
Curtiss Johns, a very fine young actor, delivers an affectionate performance as Leo, a handsome, athletic 21 year-old, who’s, consumed by the pleasures of drugs, sex and bicycling. The tragic loss he experienced along the way creates a wound that begins to heal with his bonding with Vera.
Alaina Beth Reel plays Bec, a centered, composed young woman who always seems to have the upper hand in her on-again off- again relationship with Leo.
Jenna Moll Reyes portrays Lily, a Chinese-American art student Leo brings home, with a ferocious vitality that’s hysterically funny.
Persoff’s active listening as her grandson falls apart, spilling his guts about a tragedy that occurred on his cross-country bicycle trip, is communicated with such non verbal caring and compassion as to be heart-wrenching.
Shannon McKinney’s lighting of this scene creates a shadowy dramatic mood that enhances the moment.
Scenic designer Jonathan Scott-McKean has created an authentic looking apartment living room to describe Vera’s West Village home.
Ann Piano’s costumes for the piece are spot on.
Director Len Matheo (“My Name is Asher Lev”) and (“The Cripple of Inishmaan”) has cast the play impeccably and paced it in such a way that the evening flies by. Matheo is one of the few directors in town who knows how to balance speaking with silence and action with stillness.
Miners Alley Playhouse
Jan. 29 - Mar. 6
The journey of a grandmother and her wayward grandson to form a bond across the years.
Fri/Sat @ 7:30.p.m. Sun. @ 6 p.m.; Sunday, Mar. 6 @ 2 p.m.
$25 Adult/$22 Senior/$14 Child 12/Under
Miners Alley Playhouse, 1224 Washington Avenue, Golden, CO 80401 303-935-3044 or online at minersalley.com
90-minutes, no intermission.