“THE GRADUATE” COMES OF AGE IN IVORYTON



BONNIE GOLDBERG

The classic coming-of-age movie “The Graduate” is enjoying a reincarnation from the novel to the stage, thanks to writers Calder Willingham and Buck Henry. Until Sunday, May 6, the Ivoryton Playhouse will be “revealing” how Benjamin Braddock who should be ecstatic about completing four years of college at the top of his class and celebrating his achievements with his family and friends at a party in his honor is, instead, hiding in his bedroom, filled to the max with anxieties and insecurities.

 

Luke Guldan is wonderful as the angst-driven Ben, whose promising future everyone sees as golden except himself. At this vulnerable junction in life, when he just has to select which perfectly paved road to pursue, there enters temptation in the form of Mrs. Robinson, the wife of his dad’s law partner.

 

Luke Guldan’s Benjamin is deliciously ripe for the picking and the older and wiser Mrs. Robinson has selected him for her treat of the month club. First Judith Lightfoot Clarke’s Mrs. R. shocks him and then tantalizes and entices him to play her little game of seduction.

 

While his parents (Rik Walter and Victoria Bundonis) wait patiently for Ben to show signs of maturity, ambition and direction, he wanders farther and farther from any path of promise. When his dad and Mr. Robinson (Peter Cormican) contrive to have Ben date Elaine Robinson, a sweet and idealistic Jess Brown, who is home from Berkeley, the illicit deeds become fodder for a first class family feud. To complicate an already “grotesque” situation. Ben and Elaine find themselves having real feelings for each other.

 

Completing the cast are Heather Gault as a stripper and bridesmaid, Jeffrey F. Wright II as a hotel clerk and groom and Todd Little as a priest and bartender. Lawrence Thelen keeps a steady hand on the delicate balance of comedy and drama that drives the story.

 

For tickets ($40, seniors $35, students $20, children $15), call the Ivoryton Playhouse, 103 Main Street, Ivoryton at 860-767-7318 or online at www.ivorytonplayhouse.org. Performances are Wednesday at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m., Thursday at 7:30 p.m., Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m.

 

For an education in seduction, look no further than master teacher Mrs. Robinson, whose classroom to date only has one willing student, Benjamin Braddock, enrolled.

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