Theatre Mirror Reviews - "Hence These Tears"

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note: entire contents copyright 2006 by Larry Stark


"Hence These Tears"

Written and Directed by Vincent Morreale

Technical Director David Lucas
Artistic Director Danielle Leeber
Stage Manager John Aslanian

John Alessandro................Jonathan Overby
Alisson Daniels................Jennifer Reagan
Sarah Alessandro..................Penny Benson
Peter Alessandro................Gary Ciambrone
Francesca Alessandro..........Christy Corcoran
Alexander Weir...................Andrew Rhodes
Renee Cipriani/Young Francesca...Rachel Padell
Erika Cipriani/Young John...Nora Lis Henderson
Carol Green.......................Erin Scanlon
Paul Cipriani.....................Carlos Rojas
Mary Cipriani...................Maureen Assuci
Antonia Alessandro................Fran Renehan
UNDERSTUDIES
Amanda Kelly, Jennifer Pici, Jonathan Sacramone

Writer in Residence Vincent Morreale admits that turning his novel into a play was an attempt to jump-start a writer's block. The resultant script for "Hence These Tears" is, thus, heavy with exposition --- so many characters to introduce! But this is accomplished with lively economy so that relationships and conflicts appear even before names, and the dialogue crackles with insight and loving wit that brings everyone in this sprawling family alive.

The obviously autobiographical point-of-view person is son John (Jonathan Overby), home after three incommunicado years trying to rip himself free of his Sicilian father (Gary Ciambrone) because his mother (Penny Benson), the matriarch, is near death from cancer. Though the family feuds are everywhere at the surface and flaming, this Rite of Passage brings both the family and that of Aunt Mary (Maureen Adduci), plus not one but Two of John's serious ex-girlfriends (Jennifer Reagan & Erin Scanlon) together long enough to air and try to resolve their angry pasts.

Dad wanted his son to sell sewing-machines in the family business; John wanted to do cancer research, and without him the business collapsed. His elder sister (Christy Corcoran) blames John, and only his mother can give understanding and forgiveness. Father and son both believe they are right.

The complicated family is quickly and expertly sketched: Fran Renehan's grandma snatches surreptitious smokes and fires direct questions at her grandson's girls. Aunt Mary tries to keep civility alive, and her bickering kids (Rachel Padell & Carlos Rojas) double as John and his sister in a flash back to simpler times.

Everyone seems to think that John runs away from the people closest to him. In fact, his most recent and serious girl feels so deserted she may accept John's only friend (Andrew Rhodes) as her life partner instead.

Actually, the play as it unrolls is a lot clearer about all this than this review ... probably because in directing his own play Morreale has kept the pace crisp, and allowed this big crew of fine actors to speak directly to one another as family members always do. This may be his first full-length play, and only the company's fourth production, but both are already worthy of serious attention.

Love,
===Anon.

"Hence These Tears" (18 - 27 August)
BOSTON ACTOR'S THEATER
@ The Devanaughn Theatre, 791 Huntington Avenue, BOSTON MA
1 (866)811-4111

THE THEATER MIRROR, New England's LIVE Theater Guide

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