BRIGHTON BEACH (Kevin Rodriguez)
The department of Theater Arts presented the debut of “Brooklyn Brighton Beach Memoirs” play last weekend in the McKinney Theatre.
With high expectations expected for the grand opening, the audience seemed to enjoy the 1930’s play with lots of laughter during the performance and loud cheers at the end.
The premiere showing of the play was on Nov. 5 at 8 p.m. with ticket prices up to 12 dollars.
Although starting ten minutes behind schedule the play was worth the wait.
The theater played music of the 30’s era to set the mood and displayed the classic household set in which the actors would be performing on shortly.
Before the doors opened, the patrons waited behind the closed doors waiting to be seated. Perhaps, they were a bit nervous as most of them appeared to be relatives of the performers.
The crowd ranged from only a few toddlers and younger ones to many older members.
Larry Clifner, a spectator, came with his family and thought that it was very well done and said that his favorite part was the main character Eugene “with all his entertaining comments of family and life.”
This coming of age story for Eugene (acted by Aaron Spann) showed in the beginning scenes the struggles he had to keep out of trouble while his “angelic” sister, Laurie (Reese Ravner), receives all the attention.
As the story progresses you could see his character evolve into the man he became at the end of the story. With the hardships and bliss his family endures, Eugene overcomes the obstacles.
Neil Simon, the writer of the play, incorporated the dramatic device aside for Eugene so that the audience would know of his feelings and thoughts.
It was a great way to understand Eugene as well as relating with the character. It was a great touch of writing.
The second half of the play seemed to become more dramatic and heartfelt as there began moments of Eugene developing into an adult.
The father and mother of Eugene, Kate (Kathleen Gray) and Jack (Gary Keene), played the traditional parents and acted with well spoken Brooklyn accents.
“I thought it was a fantastic play ably performed by all the cast and with perfect accents,” fellow New Yorker viewer Anthony Baratta said. “[It seemed like] they all liked working together.”
Simon sends the audience through an emotional rollercoaster with high moments and of low moments dealt by the family. However, it finally results to a touching story.
“If I could put it into three words I thought it was engaging, heart breaking and entertaining all at the same time,” Baratta said.
Overall the show appeared to be well performed and a great play to be seen with your family as everyone could relate to a character.
There will be plenty of other showings for all to see again or to witness it the first time. Show times and other upcoming events are shown on the art department section on the Saddleback website.