Sensitivity fuels the holiday game “Greetings!” »In Baie Verte
GREEN BAY, Wisconsin (WFRV) – Certain pieces resonate like a long, strong, firm, and clear note from a church bell.
The Green Bay Community Theater rings: the play âGreetings! – just in time in a production that continues this week at the company’s historic Robert Lee Brault Playhouse.
“Greetings!” is a story of Christmas, miracle and all.
It’s by Tom Dudzick, a master of plays on family dynamics – warts and all families full of weaknesses, that audiences recognize by his echoes.
Tom Dudzick has a lot to say in âGreetings! He has Phil, a cranky father who knows everything about his beliefs, including Catholicism. Phil’s wife, Emily, leaves, complying with his outbursts because of their common bond, their grown sons. Mickey is homeâ¦ forever. Mickey has different abilities. He speaks mostly in single syllables of a limited supply. Phil and Emily, separately, try to teach Mickey to say “greetings” because his brother, Andy, is coming home for Christmas with a friend who, at this point, is only known as Randi.
Phil is a firm believer in Christmas – and that it should be celebrated with lights and displays throughout the house, inside and out. Not enough of his neighbors are this sighted, Phil thinks. âNobody cares about Christmas,â he growls.
Randi lights up Phil’s Christmas. She enters her sanctum sanctorum as an atheist with Hebrew roots.
Phil and Randi hold fast to their beliefs, which have sparked a lot of angst and turmoil and philosophical arguments this Christmas Eve. And then Mickey changes everything.
Because of what Mickey says and does, everyone is shocked. They cannot believe in change, and yet it is happening in front of them. And they have different views on what happened. Mickey rings the bell saying things to fuel the debate.
Coins can go anywhere and do anything, and âGreetings! Is another example. Tom Dudzick has things to say, and this fantasy is his way of saying it. Speaking of beliefs – which you know circulate like tornadoes today – he says this through a character: âPeople don’t change until they’re ready to change.
Director Sandy Zochert and the cast love this play. They listen to his characters and what they say. A bonus for the cast is that Sandy Zochert portrayed Randi in a Green Bay Community Theater production 20 years ago, and she knows where and how the charactersâ¦ knows how to ring the bell.
Incendiary situations abound, but what develops through this sweet casting is a sensitivity to the story.
Lyle Becker, a lifelong local actor, excels at igniting Phil’s incendiary nature. He’s a benchmark around which other players respond beautifully. Competence follows competence:
Becky Decker portrays a constant mother, Emily, who provides the sprinkled mirth moments.
Zett Ainsley portrays the inconstant Mickey, a split personality of extremes – convincing in each.
Gus Kroenke portrays loving son / brother Andy, comes home with another layer of love – a woman whose complexity is a magnet to him.
Raechal Wozniak-Sanford portrays this woman, Randi, who has spent her life taking on challenges in her own way and suddenly finds a way to bow down.
“Greetings!” is and is not a deep game.
The whole housekeeping looks familiar – an everyday neighborhood house adorned with Christmas items, including a crib. Phil’s diamond pattern sweater and Emily’s overly festive apron pair perfectly with the familiar.
What is happening with Mickey and his alter ego runs very deep.
“Greetings!” can be compared to “A Christmas Carol” by Charles Dickens – a different story, thorny thoughts, the same impact.
Creative: Playwright – Tom Dudzick; director – Sandy Zochert; assistant director – Dave Burke; stage manager – Ali Weaver; production manager – Lina Green; set construction – Nathan Dantoin; light and sound designer – Kaitlin Honkanen; director – Patricia Grimm; master accessory – Karen Konshak; costume designer – Judy Patefield; hairstyle and makeup – Jacqueline Ploor
Distribution (in order of appearance)
Emily Gorski – Becky Decker
Mickey Gorski – Zett Ansley
Phil Gorski – Lyle Becker
Andy Gorski – Gus Kroenke
Randi Stein – Raechal Wozniak-Sanford
Duration of operation: One hour, 44 minutes
Remaining performance: 7:30 p.m. from December 1 to 15 and 4 p.m. from December 4 to 5
To note: Masks are mandatory for members of the public due to COVID-19 considerations.
FOLLOWING: “The Gentleman Clothier” by Norm Foster, February 10-12, 16-20, 2022.
THE PLACE: The Green Bay Community Theater is one of the few community theaters to have its performance space and rehearsal space under one roof. Stability is a big advantage. A landmark on the west side of Green Bay, the 193-seat Robert Lee Brault Playhouse features elements of a former church, built in 1854 (now the backstage lodge), 1895 (auditorium) and 1911 (today ‘hui the community hall). The most obvious remains are the pointed side windows of the church with covered stained glass. The tall triangular windows still contain stained glass, and their patterns can be seen playing on sunny days when the troop has mornings. The auditorium features a 30 by 23 foot open stage without a stage curtain. The troupe remodeled parts of the building with medieval touches, but the seating area retains elements of a church. The theater features wooden arches with decorative geometric patterns at the ends and exposed beams in the steeply sloped ceiling. The front of the stage consists of paneling of repeated arches that appear to have been reused as paneling for other parts of the building. The troupe owns the building, which became their home in 1966. The community hall serves as a gathering space for the public before a performance and intermission and for the board of directors and other internal meetings.
THE PERSON: A larger-than-life personality, Robert Lee Brault has long been an actor, director, set designer and general manager of the Green Bay Community Theater. He and his wife, Rita Brault, were the mainstays from when the troupe performed at various locations until the purchase of the current performance hall. Bob Brault died on November 1, 2015 in Florida at the age of 88. The troupe has created a special programming and education fund in its name.