Sharyn Rothstein’s All the Days directed by Artistic Director Emily Mann is currently playing on the Berlind stage at McCarter Theatre Center. This is the last production of their very strong 2015- 2016 theatre season. The story revolves around a mother and her relationships with her ex-husband, deceased son, sister, grandson, and a possible new love interest, but mostly with her daughter. It’s the dysfunctionality of this family that will make you laugh and squirm, sometimes simultaneously.
Miranda (Stephanie Janssen) is mother to 13-year-old Jared (Matthew Kuenne) and daughter to Ruth (Caroline Aaron). The mother-daughter relationship is riddled with tension. Ruth struts around leaving havoc in her wake, proving in her mind that the world revolves around her. The family gathers for Jared’s Bar Mitzvah, and Miranda makes a shocking announcement. Ruth’s realationship with her sister Monica (Leslie Ayvazian) is also not warm and fuzzy. Throw into the mix her ex-husband Del (Ron Orbach) who wants to get back together with Ruth, and he’s jealous of her going on a date with Baptiste (Raphael Nash Thompson) who was introduced to Ruth by Miranda’s boyfriend Stew (Justin Hagan), and you have one rip-roaring comedy.
Caroline Aaron is on point portraying an overbearing mother with diabetes, making family interactions awkward, but extremely comical. Audience members quickly pick up on the family dynamics, and wait for the other shoe to drop whenever Aaron enters the scene. Janssen does well depicting a daughter who has lived in the shadow of her now deceased brother, who was clearly the Ruth’s favorite child. The cast never failed to make us laugh, and in addition, makes us examine the complexities of the modern American family.
Look closely, and you will recognize Orbach as Henry Saunders from A Comedy of Tenors this season. Also no stranger to McCarter is teen actor Matthew Kuenne, who is a local student and has appeared in A Christmas Carol for several years, as well as Are You There McPhee.
Presenting All the Days on the Berlind stage is quite fitting. The audience feels like a fly on the wall witnessing how this flawed family interacts. The remarkable set features five different scenes using creative methods to change them. This is impressive for the size of the stage.
This has been a very strong season for McCarter, and Emily Mann is ending it with a script that will definitely keep you entertained.
The production runs 2 hours, 25 minutes including one 15 minute intermission. All the Days is recommended for grades 9 and up. Tickets start as low as $25 and are on sale now online, by phone at (609) 258-2787, or in person at the McCarter Theatre Ticket Office.