Rest, in Pieces opened last weekend at Delaware Theatre Company (DTC) in Wilmington, Delaware. This new play by playwright, Steve Bluestein, is a charming look at the loss of life and family relationships. This is the regional premiere of the play. According to a press release by Delaware Theatre Company, “ Rest, in Pieces is a fresh dramatic comedy about a delightfully dysfunctional family, audience are invited to join this seemingly never ending chess game as audiences voyeur into a family’s loss from three separate perspectives.” Under the direction of Bud Martin, Rest, in Pieces, looks at the emotions and sometimes humor that is associated with death.
One of the aspects I really liked about this production is that the characters are full of vivacity. In each of the three scenes in the play, a different family member dies, and Rest, in Pieces shows how their death affects the other two family members. The three actors in this show need to be full of liveliness and high emotion because they have to be able to make the audience laugh while depicting a serious subject matter while emotionally connecting with the audience. All three actors adeptly do this. Playing the role of the matriarch of the family, Leona, is Donna Pescow. On the surface, Leona seems hard to please and her son cannot do anything right by her standards, but underneath her façade she really loves her family. Pescow successfully portrays the overbearing mother, but gives her the right amount of emotion that audiences can relate to her and feel for her. During the third act, Pescow really stands out in this scene, and she leaves a lasting impression on the audience. Lenny Wolpe portrays Leona’s placid and jovial husband, Ben. Wolpe gives a sensitivity and warmness to Ben, and he gives a humanity to his character throughout the show. Rounding out this cast is Frank Vlastnik as Steve, the son of Ben and Leona. Steve is a successful comedian who lacks affection from his mother. Vlastnik gives a lively performance, and Wolpe and Vlastnik have great chemistry onstage, which will make audiences laugh. In Rest, in Pieces , the audience goes on a journey and experiences what happens when a family member dies, there are moments that are incredibly heartbreaking and moments that the audience cannot help but laugh with the play.
The one criticism I have about the show is that the production could benefit from a more robust introduction by further explaining what is to come in the play. Currently, the show does not make the audience aware that this show has three stand-alone scenarios, which makes the transition between scenes a bit disjointed. The actors in the transition between the scenes call each individual scene an “experiment,” but it is not until the second scene that I truly understood what the experiment was. That being said, this show captures how death can affect a family’s life, and dramatizes this with humor. Audiences will laugh and cry during Rest, in Pieces.
Rest, in Pieces runs at Delaware Theatre Company through November 23, 2014. For more information and tickets visit their website at www.delawaretheatre.org or call the box office at 302-594-1100.
Photos courtesy of Delaware Theatre Company
Final Thought: Rest, in Pieces looks at the serious topic of the death of a family member, but does this with sensitivity and humor. The performances in this production are lively, and this show will make audiences smile as well as shed a tear.
Kelli Curtin is editor and writer for theatresensation.com. In addition, she is a contributor for the online site broadwayworld.com and is a freelance writer. Kelli is excited to share her passion about theatre and the Arts with her readers. Kelli can be found on twitter @theatrescribe and on Facebook/theatresensation.