The Last Schwartz, in its New England premiere at Gloucester Stage, introduces us to the Schwartz siblings—Nora, Ben, Gene, and Simon—who have inherited the family home from their parents. Along with Bonnie, Ben’s wife, they meet at the house over a weekend. Tension fills the air as Nora is determined to keep the home while Ben, a businessman, wants to sell it. Meanwhile, Simon, who is autistic, spends his time staring into a telescope and dreaming about space travel.
Into this powder keg comes Gene and his pot-smoking California wild child girlfriend Kia. Like a heat-seeking missile, Kia explodes the delicate balance that the siblings have managed to construct, ripping the lid off passions long suppressed by family decorum and the stern order that Norma, the oldest of the Schwartz siblings, has maintained during the year since their father’s death. Secrets are revealed, promises broken, and conflicts erupt as the four Schwartz siblings, joined by Kia and Bonnie, struggle to find a way forward.
At a pace that feels like you’re on a roller coaster, playwright Deborah Zoe Laufer delivers a potent blend of laughs and bitter revelations. The ensemble cast is uniformly brilliant, creating vivid characters that feel like people you know and may even be part of your own family. With expert direction by Paula Plum, evocative lighting design, and a set that looks exactly like your grandparents’ musty old house, The Last Schwartz delivers comedy and heartbreak that’s perfect for a midsummer night. Run, don’t walk, to the Gloucester Stage Company to be a part of this delightful and touching experience.
Starring Brianne Beatrice (Bonnie), Andrea Goldman (Kia), Gabriel Kuttner (Herb), Paul Melendy (Simon), Glen Moore Gene, and Veronica Anaxtasio Wiseman (Norma.)
Now through July 30. For more information and to purchase tickets visit the Gloucester Stage Company website here.
All Photos by Kippy Goldfarb/Carolle Photography