Friday, July 19, 2019
Journey ‘4000 Miles’ To Compassion and Empathy
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Grandma, played by Jana Arnold, isn’t quite sure about her grandson’s girlfriend, played by Maggie Horan.
 
Tuesday, February 5, 2019
 

STORY BY KAREN BOSSICK

PHOTOS BY KIRSTEN SHULTZ

Vera is content and set in her Greenwich Village apartment—hearing aids, dentures, walker and all. That is, until her 21-year-old grandson arrives to upset the apple cart.

Leo, 70 years her junior, has pedaled his bicycle 4,000 miles from Seattle to Manhattan. And he seems rudderless, in part because of a horrific loss he suffered during the ride.

 
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Leo, played by Adam Turck, and his grandma played by Jana Arnold, find they can share some laughs despite their differences.
 

He seems to have little regard for the consequences resulting from his actions. His way of confronting reality is to run away from it. And, uh-oh, there may be trouble back home, too, considering he has no desire to talk to his family.

But how will he get along with his grandmother, who is not a homey, bake-you-cookies type of grandmother but a feisty woman who has marched around the block a few times and has definite political leanings that may be a little surprising?

This is the setting in which Company of Fools fans will find themselves when they take a journey of “4000 Miles.”

The Fools will present the finalist for the 2017 Pulitzer Prize for Drama Feb. 13 through March 2 at the Liberty Theatre in Hailey.

Action theatre it’s not. It’s more of a character-driven play as the two unlikely roommates infuriate, bewilder and ultimately make peace with each other.

It has a great deal of humor and it is poignant, as well.

“It’s a study in loss –how we encounter it, how it affects us, how we overcome it and go on with life,” said Director Gary Hopper, who directed “God of Carnage” and “Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike” for the Company of Fools.

“And it turns out the only true way of coping is connecting with special others in our lives,” he added.

The play was written by celebrated playwright Amy Herzog, who did in fact stay with her grandmother for awhile while an aspiring New York actress. Herzog reportedly used her grandmother’s words, habits and history to fashion the character of Vera Joseph.

It has been praised by the New York Times as “a funny, moving, altogether wonderful drama.”

The cast features Jana Arnold as the 91-year-old grandmother. Adam Turck, of Richmond, Va., plays the grandson Leo. And Maggie Horan and Jessi Zhang, both of New York, play Leo’s girlfriends.

“It’s a play without real highs, real lows—just subtleties,” said Arnold. “And that’s part of what drew me to it. It’s about drama in life but not slap-in-your-face drama. Instead, it’s the kind of drama those in the audience might relate to, particularly when it comes to generational gaps and trying to figure out if we can bridge those gaps.”

Hopper agreed. “It’s a real true slice of life done beautifully. Human things happen and attitudes change.”

Turck calls it a coming-of-age story for Leo that takes place over three weeks.

“He certainly doesn’t progress from boy to man in that time. But he does make progress from being a young man in what I would call a state of arrested development,” he said. “I’m approaching 30 myself so I’m trying to figure out what adulthood is all about. And I’m finding hope that maybe I can draw from his strength.”

It’s so human,” added Horan. “You feel like you’re a fly on the wall experiencing the relationships and the loss—and there’s something beautiful in that.”

Joe Lavigne created the set, Elizabeth Weiss Hopper designed the costumes, and K.O. Ogilvie is the stage manager.

IF YOU GO:

What: 4000 Miles

When: Wednesdays through Sundays, Feb. 13 through March 2

Show times: 7 p.m. Wednesdays and Thursdays; 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 3 p.m. Sundays.

Where: The Liberty Theatre in Hailey

Tickets: $35 for members of Sun valley Center for the Arts, seniors 62 and over and members of a group of 8 or more; $15 for students with ID, and $40 for all others who are not SVCA members. Tickets may be purchased online at www.sunvalleycenter.org, by phone at 208-578-9122 or at the Liberty Theatre box office.

Special Deals: Wednesday, Feb. 13, is Pay What You Feel night. Thursday, Feb. 14 is Second Night 23, meaning tickets are $23 for all adults. Friday, Feb. 15, is Educator night, with teachers and school administrators allowed to purchase two tickets for $15 each. And the ten seats on the front row are available for $10 each every performance.

Valentine’s Day: Thursday, Feb. 14, features a pre-show happy half-hour with discounted wine, beer and bubbly, deals at local partner restaurants and a chance to win prizes.

Date Night: Friday, Feb. 22, features a pre-show happy half-hour with discounted wine, beer and bubbly, deals at local partner restaurants and a chance to win prizes.

Chat Back with Cast and Backstage Tour: Sunday, Feb. 24

 

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