The table, the chairs, the dishes and the aroma of home-cooking. The almost-mythological tradition of sitting down together to a family dinner is the main course of A.R. Gurney's "The Dining Room," the third production of the Radford University Department of Theatre and Cinema's 2013-14 season.
Difficult parents, political debates, troubled marriages and celebrations of life are all served up in the Pridemore Playhouse production beginning Oct. 17.
Set in one dining room, the play depicts 18 different households and features six actors portraying more than 50 characters. Together the assembled vignettes create an overall portrait of the mythic ideal upper-middle-class American family.
"Since the different scenes take place at different points over the last hundred years, we also get to witness people at some fascinating moments in history," said Tommy Iafrate, the play's director and assistant professor of theatre.
Just some of the stories include peeks into the lives of a housewife going back to school during the women's lib movement, a wealthy patriarch considering the effects of the Depression on his family and an Irish maid who wants to leave domestic service, Iafrate said.
The student cast includes just actors: Lucas Wade Connolly, Lauren Faulkner, Bryan Glaize, Annalee Hunter, Taylor Moore, and Kevin Schmidt.