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.