A visit to the New York Holiday House (website) is a fun trip through a kaleidoscope of designers in an East Side Townhouse. Topping off the experience, is a brand new one-act play, Turkey by Ben Holbrook, presented by the Fundamental Theater Project (website).
Turkey takes light-hearted look at family dynamics during the holidays, when forced proximity cannot be avoided. Spencer Aste portrays Jefferson, a petulant adult who refuses to play nice during a holiday dinner with his extended family. Jefferson just lost an election where no one in the family supported his campaign, so he has decided to ignore their company. He avoids dinner by hiding out in the parlor with cater-waiter Ted, Sam Underwood. The two entertain themselves through drinks, jokes and magic - until interrupted by Sebastian, Jefferson’s brother.
|Nicola Murphy as Dotty and Sam Underwood as Ted in Turkey at New York Holiday House|
Garth Kravits plays Sebastian, a younger brother who sometimes scolds Jefferson for missing the family dinner and other times tries to join him in hiding out. It falls to serious niece Dotty, Nicola Murphy, to bring these two men back into the family fold.
Turkey works smoothly on the superficial level of quick witted banter and suggestive innuendo. The cast is on form with insults, jokes, retorts and flirtation delivered quickly and believably. Making the dialog works requires a sense of spontaneity, and the author is well served by this cast.
But the real joy of Turkey is watching how easily adults can fall back into childish roles at holiday time. With no one to break them out of it, Jefferson and Sebastian act out their old roles as co-conspirators and rivals with young Ted as their audience. It falls to Dotty to remind them of their duty to the family, a role she seems destined to do for innumerable family gatherings in the future.
Turkey works particularly well in the chaotic design of the Holiday House, where it seems normal to be eavesdropping on how the rich and silly live.
Holiday House New York (See Fundamental Theater Projectwebsite for dates)
Playwright: Ben Holbrook
Director: Sam Underwood
Cast: Spencer Aste, Garth Kravits, Nicola Murphy, Sam Underwood
.Holiday House New York proceeds benefit the Breast Cancer Research Foundation