By Darryl Vinyard
Riley Rae Baker • Roger Kent Cruz • Frank Gangarossa • Anne Leyden • Sheila Shaw • Dianne Travis
February 10 thru March 19, 2017
ABOUT THE PLAY
Where do you draw the line with family? Will invites his relatives to toast the purchase of his new home, but instead of celebrating they tear each other apart. Can the family survive? Is there any love left between them or just a tally sheet of debts owed and paid?
The setting is Will and Nicky’s backyard patio in Sherman Oaks, California, a suburb of Los Angeles in the San Fernando Valley. It’s a hot weekend afternoon in the dead of summer.
Family members include Will (Frank Gangarossa), a cautious man who can’t seem to relax around his own family; Nicole (Riley Rae Baker), Will’s wife, whose patience is pushed to the breaking point by her husband’s pushy relatives; Andrea (Anne Leyden), Will’s older half-sister, recently divorced and the mother of six-year-old Chloe, who feels the world is against her, never has any money and must constantly be rescued; Walter (Roger Kent Cruz), Will and Andrea’s father, thrice-married, quick with a quip and forever dreaming up get-rich-quick schemes; Brenda (Sheila Shaw), Walter’s upbeat third wife, who doesn’t let anyone forget what a martyr she has become by marrying him; and Amanda (Dianne Travis), Will and Andrea’s grandmother, Walter’s mother, and the blunt, no-nonsense family matriarch whose newly drawn-up will throws the family dynamics into chaos.
FAMILY ONLY, an original drama by Darryl Vinyard making its world premiere at Theatre West, tests the boundaries of love with humorous and dramatic results.
“Cleverly written with a tongue in cheek look at the complex issues of family dynamics by Darryl Vinyard, and directed with playful passion by Arden Teresa Lewis, you may just recognize members of your own clan here!
“At this outdoor family housewarming party in Sherman Oaks, there are plenty of laughs in between the emotional chaos and family dysfunction that festers here. On an appealing and detailed backyard patio (set design by Jeff G. Rack) we are privy to the inner issues and resentments that reveal themselves. Will and Nicole (an excellent Frank Gangarossa and sweet Riley Rae Baker) have their relatives over for a barbecue in celebration of their new home.
“As in many families, the diversities and contributions of its members are widely varied. Some are givers, some are takers. Will’s deadbeat dad, Walter (a deliciously despicable Roger Kent Cruz) is here with his wife Brenda (a solid Sheila Shaw), hoping for some financial help. Will’s unmarried sister Andrea (a feisty Anne Leyden) and unseen daughter are also here looking for money. In my favorite and award-worthy performance, Dianne Travis was hysterically brilliant as the wise and savvy ‘No B.S.’ grandmother, Amanda.
“Lighting by Yancey Dunham and sound design by Paolo Greco were top-notch in setting the tone of the play
“Do catch this highly entertaining and thought-provoking family play. A bittersweet serio-comedic look at the inner workings of family that just may ring familiar with many audience members.” — Pat Taylor, THE TOLUCAN TIMES
“FAMILY ONLY boasts a superb cast… (Anne) Leyden renders her character in broad, assertive strokes, pushing her family to the edge of civility…(Frank) Gangarossa and (Riley Rae) Baker are splendid norms of good behavior pushed to the limits… (Roger Kent) Cruz is his own kind of needy, demanding and wheedling, yet sadly sympathetic… (Sheila) Shaw creates a loving character that is finally pushed past her limits… Dianne Travis is simply splendid as a matriarch who speaks her mind…
“I found this play very absorbing… My companion and I talked and argued about the show for the entire forty-minute drive home. That is the effect of a very good, thought-provoking play… Directed by Arden Teresa Lewis, the production is handsomely mounted with another fine set by Jeff G. Rack and lighting by Yancey Dunham. Paolo Greco designed the sound. I especially enjoyed the pool splashing and broken crockery. Costumes by Ms. Lewis reinforce character, time and place.” — Paul Myrvold, THEATRE NOTES
“This very witty comedy by Darryl Vinyard has about everything one would want to experience that speaks for a family that is just as dysfunctional as anyone can get… These personalities make this comedy a rip-roaring riot! This domestic family as depicted on stage is far from being perfect and sweet. They are just inches away for nearly killing each other as that’s how families really act!” — Rich Borowy, ACCESSIBLY LIVE
“Be wary of your relatives if you want to show them how well your life is going because they might start comparing their lives unfavorably with yours. In Darryl Vinyard’s delightful comedy, that’s the lesson learned by our hero when he invites family over to celebrate his big beautiful new house… A fun play, directed with gentle humor by Arden Teresa Lewis. Produced by Benjamin Scuglia.” — Morna Murphy Martell, THEATRE SPOKEN HERE
“This is a play about a dysfunctional family, but one that can really get under one’s skin. With all of their kvetching (complaining), I almost wanted to walk up on the stage and chastise some of the members of this outrageous family! … Arden Teresa Lewis directs the well-honed cast.” — Carol Kaufman Segal, CAROL’S CULTURE CORNER