“The Dining Room” takes place in a series of scenes over 50 years in the quietly elegant dining rooms of America’s upper class. Portrayed by 13 SaddleBrooke actors, the steady stream of 56 characters of all ages, reveal their humanity in scenes dramatic, comic and nostalgic, with the dining room as the only constant; a metaphor for an out of style way of life.
“The Dining Room,” as solidly constructed as the table at its core, provides us with a variety of emotional moments. Each scene introduces a new set of people and events; a father lectures his son on grammar and politics; a boy returns from school to discover his mother’s infidelity; a daughter, her marriage in shambles, pleads futilely to return home; two sisters argue about who will inherit the family dining room set.
As the cast and staff have been rehearsing the play, they’ve talked about their own memories of a dining room - some even have connections to the play itself.
Ron Andrea, who plays four very different characters in the play, and his wife Pat, who is a Props Master, hail from Buffalo, which is the setting for “The Dining Room’” and the home of the playwright, A. R. Gurney. Ron Andrea said, “To me, “The Dining Room” is a nostalgic reminder of how lifestyles have changed in America. The dining room, once the center of family life, has been replaced by the kitchen as the hub of activity in the home. Through a series of brief glimpses into the past, “The Dining Room” illustrates how, for better or for worse, family tradition and protocol have been replaced by informality, convenience and spontaneity.”
Barbara Silvian, Assistant Producer/Director, said, “(They play) floods my mind with memories of the dining room of home, family and friends over all my years. My tiny cousin Susie sipping Uncle Bernie’s beer when no adults were looking, family holiday gatherings including sitting at Great Uncle Emil’s Seder table for what seemed like forever, the conversation as we polished silver at the table with daddy, my friend Betty’s parakeet landing on the table during lunch, college talk with the gals and meeting my husband’s family.”
“The Dining Room” reminds Dianne Ashby, who plays four unique roles, of the days when the dining-room table really meant something. Dianne grew up in a family that ate around the dining-room table every night, and where setting the table was a privilege. Conversation mostly consisted of pleasant reports of the day, but woe to the child who had misbehaved during the day, as dinner around the dining table became a long stomach-churning wait for the moment dad would finally bring up the unpleasant matter. Today, Dianne and her husband are more likely to eat at the patio table than the dining table.
The cast includes Ron Andrea, Dianne Ashby, Jim Barrett, Judi Brauns, Shawne Cryderman, Joan Cohen, Leah Kari, Ron Kari, Karen Moore, Susan Sterling, Linda Wright, Mike Moore and John Wright.
Seating is limited, and placed around a thrust stage in an intimate setting. Performances are April 17 through April 22 at 7 p.m.
Doors and a cash bar will open at 6:30 p.m. Tickets are $22, and include dessert in the Mountain View Clubhouse Ballroom, at 38759 S. MountainView Blvd., SaddleBrooke. Purchase tickets at www.DVPAC.net, or by calling 825-2818.