A most captivating dinner theater will be the talk of two towns in early February when "The Dining Room" - written by A.R. Gurney - will wipe away the winter blahs in Westfield and Jamestown with staged play reading dinner theaters.
Beginning at 6 p.m. Friday, Feb. 7, in Eason Hall, 26 Elm St. in Westfield, and Saturday, Feb. 8, in the Cappa Theater, which is located in the Robert H. Jackson Center, 305 E. Fourth St. in Jamestown, a cast of six will take the audience through the lives of several families and their everyday life in this most significant room.
Hosts for this most unusual but typical well-to-do family household narrative are Westfield Memorial Hospital Foundation and the Chautauqua County Chapter of the National Society of Arts and Letters.
Starring Westfield native Tim Newell, this staged reading presentation will be performed by The Chautauqua County Gurney Players, seasoned actors directed by Bob McClure. "Playwright (A.R.) 'Pete' Gurney is one of the most prolific and produced playwrights in America," according to McClure. "His work focuses primarily on the issues and realities of middle-class American life and has been produced in international theatre stages for more than 40 years."
The setting for the activity is a dining room where the family assembles daily for breakfast and dinner and for any and all special occasions. "The action is a mosaic of interrelated scenes - some funny, some touching, some rueful - which, taken together, create an in-depth portrait of a vanishing species: the upper-middle-class WASP," explains McClure.
"The actors change roles, personalities and ages with virtuoso skill as they portray a wide variety of characters, from little boys to stern grandfathers, and from giggling teenage girls to Irish housemaids. Each vignette introduces a new set of people and events; a father lectures his son on grammar and politics; a boy returns from boarding school to discover his mother's infidelity; a senile grandmother doesn't recognize her own sons at Christmas dinner; a daughter, her marriage a shambles, pleads futilely to return home."
Sponsors for the Westfield production are The Holt Family, The Mascaro Family and Lorna B. Penny.
Each evening begins with appetizers and dinner accompanied with wine. Then the play begins with desert served at intermission. All this for only $30 per person will be most enjoyable, plus, the Friday evening proceeds will go to the WMH Foundation to support the renovation of the hospital's Emergency Department, and the Saturday presentation dedicated to supporting the scholarships for young artists, which are given by the Chautauqua Chapter of the National Society of Arts and Letters.
Tickets are now on sale. For Westfield's Friday evening show, call 793-2338; for Jamestown's Saturday evening, 763-0578.