Through February 5|
RETURN TO SEYMOUR STREET NEW O’Connell & Company Theatre
By Augustine Warner
In a winter where the snowdrifts just seem to constantly re-appear, why not a play set in an ethnic neighborhood in the middle of winter with an old family house bedeviled by ghosts?
Yes, Tom Dudzick is back, this time with “Return to Seymour Street.”
He’s moved a few blocks from his earlier tales of life trilogy, “Over The Tavern.”
If you don’t recognize Seymour Street, it really exists in what we now call Larkinville, known to people like my great-grandfather and his descendants as “The Hydraulics.”
It was the founding base of Buffalo industry and known world-wide for its cholera epidemics.
Now, Irene (Jenn Stafford) is looking for a home for a home renovation series for the LA TV channel where she works.
And, she comes back to her home town to find the pilot show, accompanied by her teen son Gary (Max Goldhirsch) and winds up connecting with childhood friend Peter (Daniel Lendzian) who offers the 33 Seymour Street house where he grew up and Irene hung out.
They were tight and close and broke up for mysterious reasons.
She moved on to a bad marriage.
Now, Peter is trying to sell the decaying house and wants to sell it to someone who will agree to let Irene’s production company do the renovation.
There are two problems, a massive snowstorm (it is Buffalo) and Gary says there are ghosts.
Peter and Irene don’t believe it, until ghostly things happen to prove the kid’s point.
There are also strange noises, although they do figure out some of those massive noises are plows trying to move the snow, not an unfamiliar sound this winter.
The other sounds?
Well, Peter suspects it’s his long dead father, a man who may not want to attend his Last Judgement.
The entire situation brings Irene and Peter closer than they have been since those teen years.
Finally, they persuade the presumed ghost to move on to the next stage of his soul’s path.
It lets the (now) couple move on together, approved by her son.
Is it hoaky?
Of course it is, with Dudzick at the literary keyboard, a proven playwight with a long track record.
He’s been successful in New York and around the country with his evolving list of scripts, even in Ireland where those tavern family stories have done well, since after all, some of the neighborhood ethos near Seymour Street reflects Irish immigrants from those long generations past.
Here, the generations have passed and some of those ethnic histories have continued.
These are Americans with ethnic histories and continuing dreams, where the ghost is not in their dreams but in the consciousness of the teen.
Dudzick is again successful in entertainment based in Buffalo or America’s ethnic history.
Director Steve Vaughan has a nice cast with Lendzian, Stafford and Goldhirsch, performing on scenic Designer Daniel Toner’s Seymour Street house, with so many signs of the wear of time, along with some strong sound design of a Buffalo winter from Nick Quinn.
“Return to Seymour Street” belongs on your entertainment list, although sit as far to the front as you can because O’Connell and Company is still working on the acoustics in the new home on Bailey Avenue.
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