This Day Forward -The Toll of A Mismatch

It’s 1958. Irene (Holly Fain, superb and believable throughout) has just married Martin (Michael Crane, a yeoman like job) at The St. Regis Hotel. We meet in their well appointed room. The groom is besotted, but his bride leaps away like a frightened pound puppy. He thinks it’s because she’s a virgin, but in fact, Irene declares, she doesn’t love him. It seemed like a good idea at the time?

After initial shock, Martin presses she’ll grow to love him. Then the real boom falls. Irene is in love (and has had sex with) Emil (Joe Tippet, credible, but without distinction), an uneducated grease monkey from a local gas station.

fight

Joe Tippet, Holly Fain, Andrew Burnap, Michael Crane

Add a nosy, dishonest bellboy (Andrew Burnap overacting like crazy) and his ambitious, Hollywood-Polish mom, housemaid Melka (June Gable),  and you have the recipe for a first act which is, despite what tries to pass for antics, painful, sad and over long.

Act II opens in 2004 at the apartment of Irene and Martin’s selfish, gay son, Noah (Michael Crane). The earlier couple ended up together for all the wrong reasons. Noah lights into his current squeeze, Leo (Andrew Burnap) ostensibly because he’s prepared crudités for an unexpected visit from Irene (now June Gable). Visits, really any contact, is rare. (There are reasons dating back to childhood.)

Mom, who lives with daughter Shelia (Francesca Faridany), is, to say the least, losing it. She’s been picked up by police, wearing her pajamas, sitting on the floor at an airport gift shop reading Judy Blume (a real Silver touch).

2004

Francesca Faridany, Michael Crane

Sheila’s at her wit’s end. Mom fades from past to present. She’s obstreperous, super critical and literally wanders. Despite other life plans, it’s Noah’s turn. Exposition, including how she happened to stay with Martin, follows. This is a much better written and performed act.

June Gable comes into her own playing what would usually be the Linda Lavin part. (Lavin is Silver’s long time leading lady and muse.) Francesca Faridany is a perfect, stressed out, pissed off Sheila. Andrew Burnap gives Leo natural sweetness.

mom

June Gable

This is not the Nicky Silver we know – which would be fine if it worked. Class level and Jewish background are recognizable, but are here bereft of familiar dark wit and hard-won wisdom. (Well, there’s a shade of the latter in Act II.) The premise of the story might make a good 1950s, black and white melodrama if we cared. Alas, we don’t.

Director Mark Brokow does the best he can with the material. His skill is obvious.

Except for the pictured “lift,” fight scenes, particularly a slap, read completely false. (J. David Brimmer) Allen Moyer’s Scenic Design (especially the view out Noah’s window) is aptly atmospheric.

Photos by Carol Rosegg
Opening: Michael Crane, Holly Fain

This Day Forward by Nicky Silver
Directed by Mark Brokow
Vineyard Theatre  
108 East 15th Street

About Alix Cohen (794 Articles)
Alix Cohen is the recipient of eight New York Press Club Awards for work published on this venue. Her writing history began with poetry, segued into lyrics and took a commercial detour while holding executive positions in product development, merchandising, and design. A cultural sponge, she now turns her diverse personal and professional background to authoring pieces about culture/the arts with particular interest in artists/performers and entrepreneurs. Theater, music, art/design are lifelong areas of study and passion. She is a voting member of Drama Desk and Drama League. Alix’s professional experience in women’s fashion fuels writing in that area. Besides Woman Around Town, the journalist writes for Cabaret Scenes, Broadway World, and Theater Pizzazz. Additional pieces have been published by The New York Post, The National Observer’s Playground Magazine, Pasadena Magazine, Times Square Chronicles, and ifashionnetwork. She lives in Manhattan. Of course.