I bid farewell to Over the River and Through the Woods.

Last night we closed out Over the River and Through the Woods at the Catherine Hickman Theater. This is the first play that the Gulfport Players put on for this season. I wasn’t in it, but I helped backstage, so that’s what I’ve been doing for the last few weeks or so. Easy set and small cast, not anywhere close to the Summer One Acts (the first production I helped out with).

If you didn’t see the play, I will share an “almost spoiler” synopsis.

Basically, (the remaining) grandson Nick lives close enough that he sees all of his Italian grandparents every Sunday night for dinner. The play is based around news that Nick has to share about him getting a dream job offer—of which—will move him away from them. His grandparents try to keep him there by inviting Caitlin—a single woman—over to meet him, in hopes he’ll change his mind. In the end, he leaves anyway, and he eventually has what his grandparents call a great life. However, he did it his way, instead of their way, and all of the feels never escape their extra warm, toasty house.

There were many funny moments, and some really sad moments. There’s a line in there that Caitlin says about the grandson being grown and being able to sit down at dinner with all of his grandparents. Like Caitlin, I have no grandparents left. I lost my last, best and most closest grandma when I was 16. Even though I’ve always been an old soul, and appreciated my time with her when I had it, I know that the memories I made then wouldn’t be the same ones I’d be making today if she were here. I’d see it from a different perspective. I’d learn things. I’d have history. I’d have a role model. I’d have so much. There would still be a staple in my family, something that ties everyone together, like it had been before everyone grew up and went their separate way miles apart.

Over the River is just such a great play to put on these days due to the message that lays between the surface. Say, it’s like this — your great or grandparents (before Generation X) might have had their spouses chosen for them and they had to learn to love what they had, instead of who they individually loved and wanted to choose. Depending on how Generation X grew up, it could be they followed their parents footsteps or it began then that they made their own life. And the generations after that (Millennials) we have a totally different take on life—which is where the Nick lands.

There’s a huge understanding that through each generation, the one before wants the next one to have an easier and better life than they ever had. Maybe they didn’t understand at the time what was going on and why, but they later realize. Not only that, but they had what they had in life and that was it. No expectations. If they had a car, home, family—they were doing good—dreams were too far to reach… it seemed.

I moved away from home. I’m still miles away from my parents, who live in the same state they’ve lived in (almost) their entire life. Their happiness is not my happiness and vice versa. Over the River helped me understand where they came from, but it’s that whole part of things change. And some people are so scared of change. I’ll admit, I’m scared of when things stay the same for too long. I fear life becoming so boring and stale when life is so short as it is and there’s an entire world to explore in such a short time. I do wish I could see my parents more than once a year, especially when there’s a grand-crab involved, and a chance for them to see the life I have built for myself.

My favorite scene of the entire play was where the grandparents are playing a trivial game with Nick. The way it came together was genius. The heart wrenching scene is when one of the grandpa’s chose not to let his grandson know his news, so that he could accept his job opportunity, and not have anything holding him back from ‘doing the right thing.’

When the show was over, we tore everything down, packed it up, and we took it back to the Backdoor Theater…. then headed to the cast party where they had Italian food. Just without the crumb cake (a food that was mentioned during act I).

As my souvenir I took a mass card (one of the props that was used several times throughout the show) and the cast/crew were given the comedy/tragedy mask pin. I also believe that those of us who have it MUST wear it to every show in the future for good luck. I’m superstitious now, especially since the director said something about it too!

I want to say a huge THANK YOU to those who came and supported the show! Especially all of the theatre family — it was like a family reunion between running into each other in the lobby and at the new auditions!

I bid thee farewell to a great cast and show. Now, it’s time for the next one — Parfumerie, of which, one of my favorite movies You’ve Got Mail is based up on.

Table read of six
at the Backdoor Theater:
Over the River & Through the Woods

CHILLS

When the words being spoken
by the characters
hit too close to home.

9.12.16  ~ Karen Maeby