by Neil Simon
September 6 - 28, 2002
Directed by Rhonda Clark
you ever notice there’s something wrong with everyone on Pop's side of the
family?" the teenager Jay
points out in LOST IN YONKERS.
Truer words could not be
spoken about the eccentric gallery of characters that Neil Simon creates in
nostalgic comedy was Simon's twenty-seventh
play to open on Broadway, and garnered him the
Pulitzer Prize, the Tony Award, as well as, the Drama Desk and Outer Critics
Circle awards, among others. Critics and audiences alike seemed to connect to
the story of family ties that bind and chafe.
generations of a Jewish family under one roof, Simon illustrates how we are
molded by our families, whether they are nurturing or destructive.
begins in August of 1942 in Yonkers, New York in the early days of World
War II. Jay and Artie's mother has died, and due to
high medical debts, their father is forced to leave
them with their tyrannical grandmother
while he takes a traveling sales job in order to repay the loan sharks.
Over the next ten months, the two impish boys live in close quarters above the
family candy store with relatives that have been strangers up until now, i.e.
Grandma Kurnitz and her misfit children whom she dominates.
Bella, their mentally
challenged aunt who yearns for children and a home of her own, becomes the boys'
confidant. Uncle Louie is a small-time mobster on the run from his
partners". He shows up at Grandma Kurnitz’ place to hide out for awhile, and
inadvertently gives the boys several life lessons in survival. Their Aunt
Gert suffers from a strange
breathing "condition" that mysteriously appears whenever she walks through
Grandma’s door. Over the months, the household tension builds,
culminating in a second-act showdown between the grandmother and Bella.
This production is supported,
in part, with a grant from the Oklahoma Arts Council and the National Endowment
for the Arts. Carpenter Square Theatre is an Allied Arts member agency.