February 28, 2014 - Metro Community News
King O' The Moon
Lancaster Regional Players Perform Part Two of 'Over the Tavern' Trilogy
Leaping ahead ten years, playwright Tom Dudzik's Buffalo-based trilogy "Over the Tavern" continues as the Lancaster Regional Players perform the second installment, "King O' The Moon" at the Lancaster Opera House.
In "Over the Tavern" Part 1, we meet the Pazinski family, the fictionalized version of Dudzick's own family, who live above a tavern in Buffalo, as they deal with their domestic problems and crises in 1959. Opening this Friday, "King O' The Moon" focuses on the various members of the Pazinski family responding to the disruptive events occurring in America in the 1960s.
Having performed the first "Over the Tavern' several times, it seemed like a natural fit for the regional players to bring part two the stage for the first time.
"I love these characters," remarked director David Hall. "I loved part 1. I guess I assumed people would like to see what they were like ten years later. I like the way Tom Dudzick writes his characters. They're very real. I feel very connected to them.
"King O' the Moon" transports the Pazinskis from the conservative 50's to the rebellious 60's. Rudy, now 22 years old, is a seminary student honoring his father's death-bed wish that his son should become a priest. His brother Eddie is married, on the brink of fatherhood, and is about to ship out to Vietnam.
As the play opens on July 18, 1969, Apollo 11 is about the land on the moon; Rudy has gone AWOL from the seminary to participate in his first anti-war protest; his sister Annie is contemplating divorce; and romance is blooming for Rudy's widowed mom , Ellen.
"The way I see it, each character is going through some kind of life-changing decision," said Hall. "That's what I like about Tome Dudzick's [plays]. The characters all have their issues with each other, but they overcome them and the love they have for each other comes through."
So while many of us would think you have to see part one to be able to follow part two, this is not the case with this production. Although you may have more of an understanding of the family, Hall and Andrew Adolf, playing Rudy, both agreed the play stands on its own and works as its own entity.
Eileen Stevic, playing the mom, Ellen, added, "there's enough establishment of each character and information given at the beginning of the play that sets the scene for audiences if they haven't seen part one."
Stevic is reprising her role, as she played Ellen 10 years ago in part one, which is a coincidence, considering part two is set 10 years later. "The characters are going through more difficult struggles, I think, than in part one, because in part one, I'm trying to help the kids through their issues, but now they're in the 20's and they have many more major life issues they are dealing with," said Stevic. "I think that aspect of it is challenging."
Stevic added that the cast from part one has been down to where the original tavern was on Seneca Street in Buffalo, which makes it a play local audiences can relate to, considering it's based in Buffalo. The play also makes several references to other aspects of the area, such as Cheektowaga, the Larkin Building, Wardynski Sausage, and Chef's Restaurant. "It is set in Buffalo, so it's nice to have the connections between things that are talked about and mentioned in the play to where we live in Buffalo. It's nice to have that tie," said Stevic.
"if you're from the area, you kind of feel a part of it," added Adolf, who is performing with the regional players for the first time. Adolf has been performing since he was in fourth grade, discovering his passion for theater on the Lancaster Opera House stage. Following his dreams, he recently graduated from Niagara University with a bachelor's of fine arts in theater performance. He then spent some time with Theatre West Virginia, eventually making his way back home.
"I ask myself all the time 'why am I doing this?'", laughed Adolf. "When you start going to rehearsals, it really becomes a family atmosphere, and then what you draw from the audience, it is like no other feeling." The cast also includes Dan Greer, Adam Kreutinger, Eilish Mitchell, Jacob Sauer, Bekki Sliwa, and Ann Grimaldi.
"King O'The Moon – Over the Tavern Part II" runs February 28 through March 9 with shows on Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 pm and Sundays at 2:30 pm.
Tickets are $20 for adults, $18 for students and seniors. The Lancaster Opera House Box Office is open from 9:30 am to 4 pm Monday through Friday; and one hour before curtain on show nights. The Lancaster Opera House is located on the second floor of the Lancaster Town Hall, 21 Central Avenue, Lancaster. Tickets can also be purchased by calling 683-1776 or on the website at www.lancopera.org.
Lancaster Regional Players, PO Box 51, Lancaster, NY 14086