A Nice Family Gathering

A Nice Family Gathering

Last night we head­ed south with some friends to see the play A Nice Fam­i­ly Gath­er­ing, pre­sent­ed by the ADLIB dra­ma club as the inau­gur­al play in Boissevain’s brand new the­atre.  The new the­atre is a love­ly space for both dra­mat­ic pre­sen­ta­tions and movies.

The play is about a Min­neso­ta fam­i­ly gath­er­ing for Thanks­giv­ing din­ner — the first such gath­er­ing since the death of the father ten months ago.  He was a busy man, Dr. Lun­deen, so busy that he nev­er man­aged to tell his wife how much he loved her.  Now he’s back, as a ghost at the feast, and he wants to let her know how he felt.  There are just a cou­ple prob­lems:  only his son, Carl, can hear or see him, and Carl’s not that enthralled with the idea of help­ing his old man.  After all, in life, Carl Sr. was rather a dis­tant man, and not, in Junior’s eyes, much of a father.

The oth­er prob­lem is that Mrs. Lun­deen has invit­ed a date to sup­per.


A Nice Fam­i­ly Gath­er­ing is a great sto­ry; it’s fun­ny, it’s touch­ing, it delves into the dynam­ics of fam­i­ly and grief. The act­ing was uni­form­ly strong; every­one on the stage did a fan­tas­tic job.  The sin­gle set was well-con­struct­ed, and evoked a small-town house to per­fec­tion.

In short: kudos to every­one involved.

After the play, my friend Cheryl said, “I laughed, I cried, it became a part of me.”  Me, too.

I’ll end on anoth­er oft-quot­ed tru­ism:  “Hap­py fam­i­lies are all alike; every unhap­py fam­i­ly is unhap­py in its own way.”  A Nice Fam­i­ly Gath­er­ing is a sto­ry of an unhap­py fam­i­ly striv­ing for hap­pi­ness.