Lost in Yonkers Stars Evil Grandma

Most grandmas in traditional media are represented as warm, nurturing souls, but what if your grandmother was as cold as steel?


Published:

Paula Faber as grandma, Matthew Pirraglia as Arty and Andrew Iacovelli as Jay in Lost in Yonkers.

Photo by Richard W. Dionne, Jr.

Most grandmas in traditional media are represented as warm, nurturing souls, but what if your grandmother was as cold as steel? In Neil Simon’s Lost in Yonkers,  two young boys, Jay and Arty, are sent to live with their grandmother in 1942 after their mother dies and their father, Eddie, must take a traveling job to sell scrap metal in order to pay the family’s medical debts. They have to move out of their home, leaving the children nowhere else to go. Most children wouldn’t mind ten months filled with fresh baked cookies, home-cooked meals and hugs and kisses, but Jay and Arty know their grandmother is not the typical loving matriarch.

The mean-spirited woman, played by a believably cantankerous Paula Faber, scolds and points her cane at the boys, leaving them frightened of their every move. She is a Holocaust survivor, and the mother of four (although two other children died very young), and each child has a different defect in personality; the boys’ father Eddie cries about everything; their thirty-five-year-old aunt Bella, who still lives with grandma, has the personality of a small child; uncle Louie is a henchman who steals money and delivers it to the mob; and aunt Gert can hardly speak without yelling. The reason behind their developmental disabilities is because of how their mother treated them growing up. They were never held or nurtured. They were taught never to cry.

Having the young outspoken boys in the home is just what grandma needs to soften up. Whereas her own children never really had the gumption to stand up to her, it is the little one, Arty, played by an outstanding Matthew Pirraglia, who helps her see the ogress she has become. He isn’t afraid to tell her like it is, as no one seems to have ever done before. The boys also help aunt Bella (Hillary Parker) to come out of her shell, and realize that she has her own life to live. It’s not too late for her to put the obligation to live with her mother on the backburner and try to meet someone and have a family of her own someday. It is amazing to see Parker regress to the mind of a nine-year-old in a woman’s body.

The play is heavy with familial drama, yet it also has sporadic humor provided by Arty’s character. He’s a little boy that doesn’t know any better. Meanwhile, Bella keeps us laughing with her ditzy demeanor and childlike mannerisms. Uncle Louie (Ara Boghigian) adds some sex appeal to the show as he is a handsome guy who commands the stage with his boisterous personality.

 As Bella finally comes into her own, and Eddie returns home to his boys and a less austere mother, the audience is left with a sense of hope that grandma will finally be the mother and grandmother that every child deserves to have.

Lost in Yonkers is on onstage through December 16. Tickets are $25. Call 247-4200 or visit 2ndstorytheatre.com for more information.


If you’re into this blog wait until you see what’s inside Rhode Island Monthly each month.
Only $1.50 per issue when you sign up for a year. Visit the Subscription Center.


 



 

Edit ModuleShow Tags

You might enjoy reading...

Backstage Photos at PPAC's Cinderella

We got a sneak peek at the set design, and all of the gowns and accessories that go with it, including those legendary glass slippers.

The Weekly Round-up: Sept. 4–10

Five can't-miss events of the week.

The Weekly Round-up: July 17–23

Five can't-miss events of the week.

Theater Takeaway: 2nd Story’s And Then There Were None

For the second summer in a row, the Warren theater spices up the season with a fun Agatha Christie murder-mystery.

The Weekly Round-up: July 10–16

Five can't-miss events of the week.
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Popular Articles

  1. The Dish: Simone's Opens in Warren
    After two years of planning and renovations, chef Joe Simone launches his own restaurant.
  2. The Dish: Diner's Update: October/November 2014
    The latest Rhode Island food, dining and restaurant news.
  3. Meet 250 Dogs at Super Dog Adoption Day
    The nonprofit organization Always Adopt is holding the special event on Nov. 1 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Clark Farms in Matunuck.
  4. The Weekly Round-up: Five Can't-Miss Events
    Oct. 30–Nov. 5
  5. 12 Area Homes Decked Out for Halloween
    We took rides through some area neighborhoods in Rhode Island and Massachusetts to find some of the best Halloween decorations.
Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit ModuleShow Tags