CONNECTICUT CRITICS CIRCLE
THE COMIC SIDE OF DEATH IN "VIGIL"
BY BONNIE GOLDBERG 3/4/08
If you have ever been in a sick room with a loved one who is dying, you know that communication
may not be easy, no matter how much you wish to convey. Thoughts of final goodbyes, obituaries,
funeral arrangements, last wills and your love one's wishes crowd your head but may not be easy to
verbalize. Holding a hand may be the sum total of your speech at that moment.
Now meet Kemp, a forty-something soul, who, to his credit, responds immediately to his aunt's
letter imploring him to travel a thousand miles to her side as she dies. Despite the fact that they only
met once three decades ago, she is turning to him for comfort and solace in her final days or hours
on this earth.
Canadian playwright Morris Panych has fashioned a comedy of the darkest midnight hour in "Vigil"
at the Westport Country Playhouse until
Friday, March 15. Timothy Busfield is Kemp in all his unorthodox, bizarre, odd and self-absorbed
ways. Busfield brings a level of sardonic humor to the role of a man who does not want to be at his
auntie's bedside, unless she promises to die quickly and quietly and leave him a millionaire.
Helen Stenborg is his aunt, the woman who has disappointed him her whole life, never rescuing him
from his dysfunctional family, never sending a gift at birthdays or Christmases, failing him at every
turn. Now Kemp has his chance for, lack of a better word, revenge. A delicious payback is due to
thank auntie for her devotion and care, not! This is laugh out loud funny in the most absurd of ways.
Is there a Dr. Kevorkian in the house? Stephen DiMenna directs this death room vigil with a deft hand
and a straight face.
For tickets ($30-65), call Westport Country Playhouse, 25 Powers Court, route 1 , Westport at
203-227-4177 or 888-927-7529 or online at
www.westportplayhouse.org. ; Performances are Tuesday at 8 p.m.,Wednesday at 2 p.m. and 8
p.m., Thursday and Friday at 8 p.m., Saturday
at 4 p.m. and 8 p.m. and Sunday at 3 p.m.
Learn a lesson in loneliness as two wrinkled old souls vie for attention, comfort and affection at a
most critical time of life: death.