Carmel Theatre Company play tackles fading WASP culture

0
A family helps its aging mother through Thanksgiving dinner in a scene from “The Dining Room.” From left, actors Barb Weaver, Ryan Shelton, Sonja Distefano, Mark Tumey, Tonya Fenimore and Daniel Shock (submitted photo)

A family helps its aging mother through Thanksgiving dinner in a scene from “The Dining Room.” From left, actors Barb Weaver, Ryan Shelton, Sonja Distefano, Mark Tumey, Tonya Fenimore and Daniel Shock (submitted photo)

By Terri Spilman

Imagine if a dining room table handed down from generation to generation could tell stories about all the holidays, meals, life-changing events and conversations that occurred while families gathered around it.

Carmel’s newest theater group, Carmel Theatre Company, will be presenting A.R. Gurney’s play “The Dining Room,” which is written around that very idea.

Director Ken Klingenmeier has cast three men and three women who play a total of 58 characters of all ages as “The Dining Room” travels its course through time.

“The play is a study of Americans, primarily White Anglo-Saxon Protestants who make up a large cross-section of our country,” Klingenmeier said. “It is about what that cross-section values both materialistically and emotionally.”

The play was first presented in 1982, but its themes of clinging to tradition still resonate today.

The cast shares the duties of the multiple characters in 18 short scenes that take place in the dining room of a typical well-to-do household. Each vignette portrays a different occasion and life circumstance among a family, such as a father/son interaction on grammar and politics, the exposure of a mother’s infidelity, a senile grandmother who doesn’t recognize her own sons and a daughter wanting to come home after a failed marriage, each ranging from the funny to the serious.

Producer Kim Howard said, “We have a talented cast of experienced actors and are anticipating an enjoyable and quality production.”

The cast includes Mark Tumey, Ryan Shelton, Daniel Shock, Tonya Fenimore, Barb Weaver and Sonja Distefano.

 

“The Dining Room” ● 7:30 p.m. Feb. 27 and 28 and March 7, 8, 14 and 15; 2 p.m. March 1, 9 and 16 ● Studio 15 ● 15 First Ave. NE in Carmel ● Tickets are $12 for seniors or children 12 and under; $15 for adults. ● For more information call 688-8876 or visit www.carmeltheatrecompany.com.

Share.