Supporting the Arts in Western Massachusetts and Beyond

July 30, 2019

REVIEW: Williamstown Theatre Festival, “Tell Me I’m Not Crazy”

Williamstown Theatre Festival, Williamstown, MA
through August 3, 2019
by K. Rogowski

“Tell Me I’m Not Crazy” by Sharyn Rothstein, is a fast paced and funny show that takes on a myriad of serious social and family issues that are straining the fabric of families everywhere; but nowhere like they strain the Koening family. The trouble starts when grandpa Sol (Mark Blum) buys a gun to protect the family, upsetting his now retired wife, Diana (Jane Kaczmarek), his son, Nate (Mark Feuerstein), a stay at home dad and sometime photographer, and his jet setting wife, Alisa (Nicole Villamil). And it’s all downhill from there.

Rifts begin to form as Nate and Alisa stop bringing the grand kids over for fear of what might happen with a gun in the house. Diana wants to bike through Italy, but Sol has lost his job, and is now obsessed with being at the shooting range in an effort to be ready for anything and everything. Nate and Alisa fight over her never being home for the kids. Sol belittles Nate for being a failure as a photographer. When this whole mess gets to be too much, Sol moves out. The question then becomes, “how do we fix all this?”

The pace and the intensity of this show is carried with precision by the cast, delivering pointed punch lines that cool boiling arguments one moment, and scenes of genuine caring and vulnerability in others. That combination makes for characters you care about.

To have the set changes match the intensity of the action, director Moritz von Stuelpnagel has the actors noticing, and reacting to, the walls moving and lights changing, as their world literally spins out of control. Briskly playing for one hour and forty minutes with no intermission is the best way for this show to run, because you’re caught up in the action, wondering what will happen next.