Have you ever wanted to be a fly on the wall, or maybe something even more ephemeral? Like a shadow? Bubby’s Shadow by Andrew Rothkin is a ghost story, but one where the living haunt those that have already passed on.
It starts, like many ghost stories, on a dark and stormy night.
There is a green glow of eyes, strange mystical chanting, crackling thunder and lightning and then . . .
We reenter the normal world again – a house, though still draped in the shadows of a dark and stormy night where someone is knocking at the door. Nightgown-clad Debra (Rosie Cosch) comes to the door in an obvious state of alarm in response to the pounding and screaming of brother Jonny (playwright Andrew Rothkin). Cosch as Debra does a great job conveying both annoyance as well as concern as she hears Jonny’s tale.
Apparently Jonny got a strange phone call which (Caller ID confirmed) came from Debra’s home but all he heard was strange wailing and muttering. They both admit that they’ve been having dreams of their dear dead Bubby who raised them in that very house, but who has been dead for 19 years.
During their childhood their father was distant, so when their mother died Bubby, their larger-than-life grandmother, brought them joy and love and gave them all the support they could ever need. She died in their late teens, leaving them feeling somewhat alienated with a disconnected father. Their resentment toward him grew and Bubby’s set of memorabilia was stashed in the attic.
Now 19 years later Jonny is the workaholic, whose relationship with his wife is on the rocks because of his inability to express his emotions. Debra is a single divorced mother to Cara, searching for Mr. Right to no avail. Cara also becomes acquainted with her Great Grandmother Bubby through dreams.
In the morning we meet the friendly and spunky Cara who is up bright and early, having met up with her friend. She arrives back home just in in time for the phone, which has been working strangely, to begin ringing bringing the ghost of Bubby on the scene. For a moment Bubby and Cara talk simultaneously as Cara channels her long dead great grandmother.
In the final scenes of the show we find out that Debra and Jonny’s long estranged Father (played by Jeffrey Farber) also got a call. He arrives back at the home and brings with him a charming male nurse, Eli (played by a very genuine and friendly Isaac Elkiss) , who is “a very good boy” about Debra’s age. Eli gives Cara some wonderful reasons to check out the great programs at her local JCC where he teaches karate. He is very learned in Rabbinical writings as well as a freethinking spiritualist who has looked into Buddhism, Kabbalah and many other interesting things because (he tells Cara when no one else is around) he can sense ghosts too. He confides that sometimes when people are angry or confused it can cause a darkness to be cast about that can be dangerous.
“Our days are as a shadow upon the earth.” (Divrei HaYamim-1 29:15) O, that our life would be as a shadow of a wall or that of a tree. Rather, it is as the shadow of a bird in flight above the ground. (Midrash Rabbah 96:2)
Pacing of Bubby’s Shadow would be better served if more of the action emphasized Bubby, and if the mystery was illuminated a bit sooner. However, overall this show is a touching tale steeped in Jewish culture which highlights the idea of how love can fix a damaged family. Director Greg Cicchino delivered a smooth piece, subtle and thoughtful. Bubby’s Shadow will pull at your heart strings, and leave you satisfied – spiritually and emotionally – after a nice Shabbat dinner.
Bubby’s Shadow Benefiting: Jewish Social Services Hospice & Visiting Nurse Service of New York Hospice and Palliative Care
Produced by White Rabbit Theatre
Written by Andrew Rothkin
Directed by Greg Cicchino
$18 General Admission
$9.00 for Film/Music Participants
FREE for Theatre Festivity Participants
Sunday 6/3/12 – 12:00pm = Performance #1
Tuesday 6/5/12 – 4:00pm = Performance #2
Saturday 6/9/12 – 4:30pm = Performance #3
Friday 6/15/12 – 6:00pm = Performance #4
Sunday 6/17/12 – 11:00am = Performance #5
Tuesday 6/19/12 – 8:30pm = Performance #6
Wednesday 6/20/12 – 6:00pm = Performance #7
Saturday 6/23/12 – 7:00pm = Performance #8