“OVER THE TAVERN” - American Family Trials
By Marlene S. Gaylinn
Everything seems stacked against the Pazinski’s who live in an apartment over the tavern, which is this Polish-American family’s business in Buffalo, New York. The father, “Chet” (Michael Sacco) works there along with his aging father and is frustrated because his old man has too much to say about running the tavern. His wife, “Ellen” (Sarah Knapp), stays at home and cares for four difficult children: “Georgie” (Tony Harkin), who happens to be a retarded youngster; 16 year old “Eddie” (Ben Scanlon), who keeps getting into minor conflicts and suffers from a tremendous guilt complex, “Annie” (Mandy Thompson), a teenager who is undergoing puberty and also feels guilty because she doesn’t understand why she behaves erratically; and then there’s “Rudy” (Carey Cannata), a clever, 12 yr. old who is a super, prize package to deal with. Cannata makes you wonder if he’s really like this at his own home.
Rudy, the central character, has his own mind, to the consternation of Sister Clarissa (Noel Desiato) who is trying to drum the Catholic catechism into him with the use of a wooden ruler across his knuckles. Meantime, Rudy discovers his own popularity and happiness at impersonating Ed Sullivan and wants to try out “more fun” religions before deciding whether he wants to be confirmed. Sparks fly when Sister Clarissa visits the family.
If you ever questioned the established values of your family, you will find this play funny. If you have no need to question your beliefs...beware.
“Over the Tavern” is a semi-autobiographical play by Tom Dudzick, who wrote “Miracle On South Division Street.” The entire cast is exceptional and it’s a very entertaining family show.
Plays through Oct. 30