A “MIRACLE?” AT SEVEN ANGELS

By Marlene S. Gaylinn

There are all sorts of so-called miracles but “Miracle on South Division Street,” a new play by Tom Dudzick currently playing at Seven Angles Theatre in Waterbury is one you would probably never dream up except in fairy tales.

The play is about a Polish, Catholic family and a saintly-looking statue that has been standing outside their house for three generations.  It seems that Clara, who is the matriarch of her family of three young adults, inherited the statue and the legend from her father who claimed he had seen a vision.  The message from this vision was to pray for peace in the world.  Since Clara’s father had contracted for the creation and placement of the statue, people have been stopping to pray and putting money into the slot, Clara has been operating a soup kitchen featuring a miracle stew, and otherwise occupying herself with publicity and public support for her father’s miracle and eventual sanctity by the Pope.  Meantime, Clara’s children have brought their own, personal issues to the table and a family conference has been called.  Son Jimmy (Ethan Paulini), a tolerant, laid back fellow with more worldly views has a Jewish girlfriend that he wants to become serious with.  Daughter Ruth (Andrea Maulella) has a surprise concerning her acting career that she wishes to discuss.  Her sister Beverly (Liz Zazzi), whose only love is bowling and is a “tell it like it is” character, serves as snap-judgment witness to the family doings.

Another, unexpected miracle suddenly turns this average family upside down and long-standing traditions and prejudices are dissolved.  The foretold miracle comes true – would it be so easy for the world to accept the wishful terms.  The play is clever and funny.  While playwright, Tom Dudzick’s surprise ending provides a very relevant punch, the script needs to be more believable for audiences to accept his underlying message.

Ethan Paulini gave a very good performance as the son, Jimmy Nowak. Andrea Maulella’ performance as the career-seeking actress, is muffled by her fading voice.  It’s hard to sympathize with Peggy Cosgrave plight as she plays a rather tough mother. Perky Liz Zazzi steals every moment onstage with her down to earth character that everyone can identify with.

Marlene S. Gaylinn is a member of ct critics circle.  This review appears in “On CT Theatre.”

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