The Thanksgiving Play – Review by Bonnie Goldberg

Thanksgiving is a wonderful holiday when the family gathers to give prayers and gratitude for all the blessings we are thankful for enjoying. A golden glazed turkey with cranberry sauce and buttery mashed potatoes are followed by pumpkin pie and a televised football game or two. There is no need to spend hundreds of dollars on gifts and all the guests present are generally in a jovial mood. What could possibly go wrong?

Square One Theatre in Stratford is investigating what could possibly occur in the holiday happening in Larissa FastHorse’s probing satire “The Thanksgiving Day” weekends until Sunday, November 19 at the Stratford Academy. The playwright is the first Native American woman to bring a show to Broadway, as she pokes fun of how history and theater can get lost in the translation as Lillian Garcia’s Logan is challenged to create a forty-five minute holiday play for third graders that doesn’t offend anyone.

Logan enlists the aid of David Victor’s Jaxton, J. Kevin Smith’s Caden and Lynnette Victoria’s Alicia to aid her with this thorny cornucopia of a problem. With this quartet of theatrical people in hand, why should it prove so problematic to improvise a script? Logan is afraid she will alienate all the generous donors who provided grants for the school project. Caden has come equipped with a set of possible scenarios that go back way before the Mayflower landed on Plymouth Rock. Jaxton enjoys a special relationship with Logan and they use yoga and meditation to inspire their movements while Alicia, the professional actress, has confidence she can play any role that is presented to her. Meanwhile at the center of the conumdrum are the indigenous people that they are trying to honor and not denigrate. What could possibly be a problem with four white clueless adults in charge?

For tickets ($ 22, students and seniors $20, reserved front row $25), call the Square One Theater Company, 719 Birdeye Street, Stratford at 203-375-8778 or online at Performances are Friday at 8 p.m., Saturday at 4 p.m. and 8 p.m., and Sunday at 2 p.m. A discussion of the play will take place at the Stratford Library in the Lovell Room on Tuesday, November 27 at noon.

Come see “The Thanksgiving Play,” one of the ten most produced plays in America this season, where you won’t find a new recipe for stuffing but where you might find some thought provoking ideas about Native Americans and their history.