CROSSING GEOGRAPHY AND GENERATIONS: “4000 MILES”


BONNIE GOLDBERG

What happens when a genuine card carrying Communist and a free wheeling hippie renew their relationship as grandmother and grandson? 91 year old Vera Joseph has no warning that Leo had plans to crash on her Greenwich Village doorstep until he arrives in the middle of the night. After suffering a great personal loss, while biking across the country, Leo seeks refuge at grandma’s house. He needs to figure things out, examine his life choices and, essentially, grow up.

Using bits and pieces from her own history, playwright Amy Herzog has fashioned a new play of personal exploration, “4000 Miles,” getting its wheels in gear at Long Wharf Theatre in New Haven until Sunday, March 16. A finalist for a Pulitzer Prize, “4000 Miles” spans three generations, giving voice to many of the issues that face the elderly and the youth of today.

Zouanne LeRoy stars as Vera, the feisty and forgetful bubbe who doesn’t hesitate to take in her conflicted grandchild. She recognizes that he is lost and seeking direction. She too is searching for answers, her confusion due to a great extent to what could be early Alzheimer’s.

Micah Stock’s Leo has major issues with his personal relationships, with his parents, his adopted step-sister, his girlfriend (Leah Karpel) and even a one night pick-up (Teresa Avia Lim). Despite all his problems, Leo acknowledges that a family member can be “a really good friend I happen to be related to.”

As Leo opens his heart and reveals his deepest thoughts, he connects with Vera in ways neither one of them ever could have anticipated. Eric Ting directs this inter-generational exploration of feelings on a deliberately dated set designed by Frank J. Alberino. All we need are the lace antimacassars on the arm chairs.

For tickets ($40-75), call Long Wharf Theatre, 222 Sargent Drive, New Haven at 203-787-4282 or online at www.longwharf.org. Performances are Tuesday 7 p.m., Wednesday at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m., Thursday at 8 p.m., Friday at 8 p.m., Saturday at 3 p.m. and 8 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m.

After more than nine decades of diversity, in politics and bed partners, Vera has a wealth of knowledge to impart to her young guest, whether or not he is ready to listen and to learn.

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