"DISTRACTED" AN INVOLVING FAMILY TALE


BONNIE GOLDBERG

When a couple discovers the wife is pregnant, the overriding sentiment is the desire for a healthy baby. This wish is poignantly expressed by the father of a nine-year-old son Jesse when he states "I want a normal child" and "I just want him to be a happy kid."

Sit forward in your seat at the Square One Theatre Company's emotional production of Lisa Loomer's involving family tale "Distracted," playing weekends in Stratford until Saturday, March 16.

 

Concerned parents, played movingly by Lillian Garcia and Pat Leo, are obviously alarmed when their son's school alerts them to a potential problem: Jesse cannot focus on his school work, he is acting out and his impulsive, inappropriate behavior is disturbing to the rest of the class.

 

Not one to ignore a problem, they unite to face it head on. They want to be told the school is wrong and there is nothing bad happening. Jesse is simply an active boy doing what active boys do for attention.

 

Seeking advice from a string of professionals, they consult a variety of doctors (Michelle Duncan, James Leaf, Betty McCready) and receive a plethora of suggestions and directions to pursue. Jesse is tested and retested until a diagnosis is received, one his parents are reluctant to accept.  Jesse has ADHD, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.

 

Frankly they'd rather take the advice of their neighbors (Lucy Babbitt and Ann Kinner) and Jesse's babysitter (Alanna Delgado) who has difficulties of her own to straighten out. In fact, everyone has a potential emotional issue.

 

Playwright Lisa Loomer "injects" a lot of humor into this distressing tale of distraction, making it real and of the moment. There is no fast cure, as the family tries to cope with homeopathic solutions, food allergy fixes, a clinic in New Mexico and finally, reluctantly, medication. Tom Holehan, Artistic Director of Square One Theatre Company, now in its 23rd anniversary season, helps his talented cast, including an engaging Michael Mulligan as Jesse, deal with this developmental issue that affects 3-5% of children around the world.

 

For tickets ($20, students and seniors $19), call Square One Theatre Company, 2422 Main Street, Stratford at 203-375-8778 or online at www.squareonetheatre.com. ; Performances are Friday at 8 p.m., Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m., with a twilight matinee at 4 p.m. Saturday, March 16. Go online for the list of special restaurant offers available, including:

 

AKOYA Asian Cuisine next door at 2410 Main Street - 203-381-9366.

McCOY's IRISH PUB is across the street from the theatre at 2399 Main Street - 203.870.8688

ACAPULCOS Mexican Family Restaurant & Cantina is across the street from the theatre at 2419 Main Street - 203.378.7900

LIL' MOE'S CAFE is across the street at 2415 Main Street - 203.375.2583

STATIONHOUSE WINE BAR & GRILL is located at 2520 Main Street in the NYC-bound side of Stratford Railroad Station - 203.377.1648

SIENA ITALIAN TRATTORIA is located at 2505 Main Street – 203.923.8400

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