So much of our lives play out around dining tables, often even at non-descript restaurants.
Dan LeFranc’s “The Big Meal,” at Playwrights Horizons in an extended run through April 22nd, has an unusual structure, without being in any way avant-garde or revolutionary. It simply stretches an extraordinary timeline, covering some eighty years in a family’s life. In “The Big Meal,” LeFranc chronicles a family over many seatings at a generically favorite restaurant.
The writing, the acting, the pace of the direction, all tell this engaging story that begins with Nicky (Phoebe Strole in this incarnation) and Sam (Cameron Scoggins) on their first dates. They meet, flirt, fight, and eventually reconnect, older (Jennifer Mudge is now Nicky with David Wilson Barnes playing Sam) and ready to commit. Sam and Nicky hang in over many more drinks and dinners, bringing their kids, Maddy and Robbie (Rachel Resheff and Griffin Birney) out to eat with Sam’s parents, Alice (Anita Gillette) and Robert (Tom Bloom.)
Carmeron Scoggins, Phoebe Strole. Photo by Joan Marcus
The actors rotate into the characters as they age, picking up the nuances from generation to generation. “We really started something,” Anita Gillette says late in “The Big Meal.”
Anita Gilette,Molly Ward, Tom Bloom. Photo by Joan Marcus
“The Big Meal” is delightful in its simplicity and authenticity. For tickets and information about “The Big Meal,” go to www.playwrightshorizons.org.