"Over the Tavern" Review

A Step Back in Time

by Diane Aras

Be ready, to forget the 2012’s and go back to the 1959 era and laugh your way to learning how a young boy’s questioning religion can change his family for the better.

In Over the Tavern,  by playwright, Tom Dudzick, of Buffalo, New York, the author does a self  reflection of his life as a young Catholic boy living over a tavern; I believe the way the script was written makes life in a typical Catholic home in the 1959’s believable. Mr Dudzick in his script brings in various aspects of family life stresses with the interactions of his 7 on stage family characters and the presence of a grandfather that also has caused and still causes stress in their family life through his actions, though he is not a cast character, but still an intricate  part of the family.

Ed Sullivan, Jack Paar, Woody Wood Pecker, and the differences that religion posed in the era helped to bring us back to the time the family was living. The times when Catholics and Protestants were considered different and how it was believed that a nun could do no wrong.

Rudy, starts out the play, with letting us know that he is questioning why religion is so important when it has not made a difference in his life. He often prays for help in his life using the perfect inflections of a 12 year old boy; as a boy would he remembers the little things like asking to help his dad remember the spaghetti for dinner and to not be in a bad mood.

The way Rudy inflects his requests and questions life causes the audience to laugh and to have empathy with Rudy and his simple requests, which happen through out the play.

The director, Barbara Hynes-Tomczyk, did a wonderful casting job with selecting actors that were believable as a family. Barbara said to me “ Our Rudy is very talented” and I agree with her, if she did not have the right Rudy the rest of the family wouldn’t interact as well. I had never seen a production by this director and I was rewarded with seeing she had a keen eye for using the stage and moving us with the use of lights to where we should be looking. I never felt lost on where to have my eyes.

My husband, remarked several times on how Sister Clarissa, was just like the nun’s in his Catholic school. Ruler and all; he wished he would have had the guts that Rudy had to questions things back in his Catholic school life.

I loved how the play ends with the nun, telling Chet the father how she, a nun had made a mistake and that because of her mistake the family he had were paying today for it.  Chet seems to listen to the nun like a good Catholic boy, and goes home to be a different father, his first step taking the whole family out for a spaghetti dinner

About Diane: Diane is 59, and has been married to her husband, David, for 31 years. They have no children, but love their pets Sam, a Pomeranian; Bella, a King Charles Cavalier; and Niki, their tabby cat. David and Diane enjoy the theatre and professional plays. Her favorite show was Cats. They also enjoy theatres with child actors,  including Children's, Morristown Players, Crosstown Players and several plays at Lyric Arts.