Supporting the Arts in Western Massachusetts and Beyond

October 8, 2015

The Homecoming

Berkshire Theatre Group, Stockbridge, MA 
through October 25, 2015
by Shera Cohen

Michelle McGrady Photography
No one with any sense of normalcy would purposely return to the home of Harold Pinter’s “The Homecoming.” Or, one would hope not. Yet, there is a seemingly mundane atmosphere, language, and comings and goings that might apply to any home; i.e. there’s yelling, lousy breakfasts, and assigned seating. Eric Hill directs Berkshire Theatre’s heavy-duty drama with much comedy, or in the reverse, a black and edgy comedy that borders on sinister, with a taut and deft hand.

These characters don’t make for a typical dysfunctional family. They are dysfunctional with a capital “D.” Max, the dad, is at the center of the messiness. Rocco Sisto (a stalwart character actor in the Berkshires) portrays the father, definitive in his ways and decision, until he immediately changes his mind. Sisto’s mannerisms and voice lay a harsh layer onto Max. Max’s sons are extreme opposites of each other and of Max. It’s a curious thought how different the play would be with a mother character. Joey Collins very successfully provides Lenny an eerie, slimy, macabre demeanor, so much so that the idea of running into Joey on the street would cause instant flight. The character of older brother Teddy gives actor David Barlow the opportunity to become a man smoldering inside. Something’s going to bust…we think. In smaller, yet important roles, are Rylan Morsebach as the youngest son Joey, and John Rothman as Max’s brother. What a lovely household held together by those with the Y chromosome.

In walks Tara Franklin, Teddy’s wife Ruth, at first shy, mousey, quite average. Teddy leaves the room, Joey enters, Ruth sheds her coat to reveal a fully-clothed, albeit femme fatal. Franklin’s smirks and especially her silences become the focal point, indeed, the point of power which she so easily steals from each of the others.

“The Homecoming” is chock full of secrets and implications that pit one character against another in a game. At times, this is not an easy play to watch. But, that is no excuse to dismiss Pinter (if you think you might not like his work). The unbelievably talented cast and crew make the production a feat.

Berkshire Theatre Group has made a smart decision (as have other theatres in the Berkshires) to extend its summer season into fall, especially for the leaf-peeper tourists.