Family Night

Family Night (a spoof), written and directed by Jan Swartz, produced and choreographed by Lynn Needle, with an original sound score by Curha and lighting by Ruth Grauert, presented at the Unitarian Society in Ridgewood, NJ December 31, 2002 and January 3, 2003.

A Review

I received the script in October and found it difficult to read. It was ambitious, it would seem, with voiceovers and dances, guitar solos and rants, lots of new-fangled language, lighting instructions, television intrusions, the Ridgewood version of TV’s “The Osbournes,” with which I had no acquaintance. And in all this “mess” I was to play a priest.

Jan had pulled out all the stops. I designed slides depicting The White House, a Privy, a mad dog to illustrate the narrative, and lots of “break space” ones for a sequence depicting the end of the world. I dutifully tried to learn non-sequitur lines. Lynn “did” ballet, tap, modern, and yoga herself and made a few “step, turn, wiggle” and “pile up” dances for the cast.

There were professional actors in the cast, but with sixteen (?) (I counted them in confusion), it was difficult to keep them all straight, except for one 12-year-old.

But somehow the play filled the house for First Night and repeated itself later in the week to another full audience. The folks in Ridgewood “got it” aad even I began to have a “glimmer”. It was suppose to be a “mess”! And all I can do is hope that it ain’t truly a depiction of Family Night.

— Ruth E. Grauert