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The Goldman Project at Abingdon Theatre Company
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The Goldman Project at Abingdon Theatre Company

- Backstage with the Playwrights

The Goldman Project
Presented by
Abingdon Theatre Company
Jan Buttram, Artistic Director
www.abingdontheatre.org
and
Penguin Repertory Company
Joe Brancato, Artistic Director

The Goldman Project
By Staci Swedeen
At the
Abingdon Theatre Company
June Havoc Theatre
312 West 36th Street
NY, NY
212.868.2055

Featuring:
Anita Keal as Naomi Goldman
Sam Guncler as Tony Marks
Bernadette Quigley as Aviva

Directed by Joe Brancato
Scenic Design: Ken Larson
Lighting Design: Matthew McCarthy
Costume Design: Patricia E. Doherty
Original Sound Design: Dimitri Tisseyre
Sound Design, Restaging: Matt O’Hare
Production Manager: Ian Grunes
Production Stage Manager: Jack D. McDowell
Associate Artistic Director: Kim T. Sharp
Casting: William Schill
Original Casting: Judy Henderson
Press: Shirley Herz Associates
Marketing Director: Doug DeVita

Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
October 16, 2007


Rarely have I been so riveted by exceptionally thought-provoking and subliminally disturbing theatre as I was, while attending The Goldman Project, by Staci Swedeen. The project refers to Holocaust research that was supposedly financed by Steven Spielberg, in an attempt to fuse brief videos in 1994, naturally filmed, so that the dying breed of Survivors would have their stories preserved for eternity, never to be forgotten or unknown. What could be a weightier subject, fraught with angst and anguish? What could more surely bring the audience to tears and chills? Well, there were few tears and chills, as Ms. Swedeen spared us many layers of details, tightening the topic and weaving it through a family’s black comedy, with Jewish humor, Yiddish banter and song, and even some touching affection and romance. The affection was reached through the closing of distance between an edgy mother-son relationship, and the romance was reached through the reunion of former lovers, hardly by chance. But, the operative word remains some.

Tony Marks (Sam Guncler), formerly Tony Goldman, has changed his name to coincide with a marriage to a Presbyterian, a marriage in dissolution. He’s now living with his mother, Naomi Goldman (Anita Keale), who speaks with a perfectly tuned Eastern European accent. Aviva (Bernadette Quigley), a former lover of Tony, arrives with camera and notebook to “interview” Mrs. Goldman about her past, a past that has been long kept secret, buried in letters and photos in a hidden box. The offstage character that impacts on everyone in the room (a well decorated, 50’s style mahogany and stuffed couch set) is Tony’s deceased father, with whom Tony had had a tumultuous many years. It is in the secret box and in the unpeeling of some of Naomi’s costume that her buried husband comes alive, and the story glues the family as one. And, it is in the addition of another costume prop, Tony’s father’s tweed jacket, that Tony blends back into the Goldman heritage.

Joe Brancato has directed this fine play with disarming seamlessness, so that banter becomes thunder, humor becomes horror, and Naomi morphs from colorful charm, “I do and I go”, to steel gray stillness, as she relives “the camps” and “the barn”. We are caught by surprise and drawn into the drama with more passion than pain, although this writer spent one day touring Dachau, and the searing images returned. Anita Beale was a study in possession of mood and moment, Sam Guncler was the lonely, conflicted son, living on the edge of two cultures, needing to be nurtured and nurturing at once, and Bernadette Quigley was the proud, but assimilated Jew, searching for her roots, both ethnically and emotionally.

Anita Beale, as well as Mr. Guncler and Ms. Quigley, should be brought back onstage again and again, so that audiences around the world can experience this production and its historical relevancy. Also relevant are the consistent themes of family relations, deep misunderstandings, and the catharsis of self-renewal. Kudos to Abingdon Theatre Company and Penguin Repertory Theatre.



Sam Guncler, Anita Keal, Bernadette Quigley
"The Goldman Project"
Photo Courtesy of Kim T. Sharp



Anita Keal and Bernadette Quigley
"The Goldman Project"
Photo Courtesy of Kim T. Sharp



Anita Keal, Sam Guncler, and Bernadette Quigley
"The Goldman Project"
Photo Courtesy of Kim T. Sharp



Anita Keal
"The Goldman Project"
Photo Courtesy of Kim T. Sharp



Anita Keal and Sam Guncler
"The Goldman Project"
Photo Courtesy of Kim T. Sharp






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For more information, contact Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower at zlokower@bestweb.net