According to Goldman
April 11 2013
Reviewed by Nicholas Linnehan
Over the last few years, I have always been impressed by the innovative work produced by Theater Breaking Through Barriers. Their current production of According to Goldman is no exception. Bruce Graham’s piece is both witty and heart-felt, which makes it rich in flavor and delightful to watch. The actors dive right into their work, making the production poignant and well worth seeing.
According to Goldman chronicles the life of Gavin Miller, a screen-writer who’s star is quickly fading. Although once at the top of his league, Gavin’s time as a successful screen-writer is nearing its end. To make ends meet, he takes on a teaching job at a college, focusing on writing for the movies. Enter Jeremiah Collins, an aspiring, young writer taking Gavin’s course. Jeremiah is an introverted student with traditional values and a love of classic films. Gavin’s bluntness provides for an interesting juxtaposition to Jeremiah’s reserved demeanor. The two are very different from each other, but their mutual love of old films helps them forge a relationship. Gavin recognizes the talent in his young student and hopes that through collaboration, both of them can get into the game and make a name for themselves. In the backdrop lies Gavin’s wife, Melanie. Melanie is exhausted after 24 years of marriage and watching Gavin’s success decline. She wants nothing more than to start over and leave their former life behind.
The cast of this intimate play is strong all-around. Each member has developed their respective characters and commits fully to the story that they are telling. Nicholas Viselli captures Gavin’s inner struggle to accept that it is time to move on and leave his former glory days behind. He delivers the bitterness and profound sadness of Gavin well. His wife, played by Pamela Sabaugh, is equally moving. She plays Melanie’s frustration with her husband with great emotional depth. Stephen Drabicki, brings a youthful energy to the stage. Not only is Drabicki comical, but also capable of great honesty when re-living the horrors of his childhood. This cast works well together and makes for a captivating team.
While watching the play, you would never know that two of the actors are disabled. I appreciated director, Ike Schambelan’s dedication to not make this play about “disability”. The story is, as it should be, about three people fighting for what they want. The actors’ disabilities just exist just as the color of their hair does. His use of disabled actors, without exploitation, is refreshing and inspiring. This is definitely a must-see and a perfect example of theater that matters!
According to Goldman plays until May 5, 2013 at the Clurman Theater, Theater Row. 410 W42nd St. http://www.tbtb.org