Hit and Run Productions

in association with

Aching Dogs Theater

presents

You’ll Be Happy When I’m Dead

by Bill Rutkoski

 

June 8 through June 19, 2011

 

Crowne Theater of the Producers Club, 358 W. 44th Street NYC

 

 

Director & Sound Designer DON CREEDON

Producing Artistic Director of Aching Dogs Theatre PAMELA SCOTT

Director of Hit & Run Productions, Inc. ARI TAUB

Lighting Design MEGAN L. PETI

Lighting and Sound Technician ROSEMARIE DESAPIO

Stage Manager YUDELKA HEYER

House Manager JESSICA FONTAINE

Publicity SCOTTI RHODES

 

Cast

Dorothy – Nina Rochelle

Bob – Bill Rutkoski

Jimmy – Mike Rutkoski

Sunny – Joan Porter

Karen – Pamela Scott

 

Left to Right: Bill Rutkoski, Nina Rochelle; Photo: Bill Rutkoski

You’ll Be Happy When I’m Dead presents the sort of family dynamic that most of us can relate to on one level or another, but could only wish provided fodder for humor. This is a story we have seen in many different iterations before, and this particular outing is playwright and actor Bill Rutkoski’s take on the familiar aging-parent-becomes-a-challenge-to-adult-children plot.

In this case, the parent is the widowed Dorothy, who is periodically visited by two of her sons, Bob and Jimmy, who take her to medical appointments and attempt to see to her well being while trying to overcome ongoing family conflicts and the inevitability of physical deterioration due to chronic illness. Doesn’t sound like it would be funny, but it is at the most successful points in the play, mainly due to the talents of Nina Rochelle, who plays Dorothy, and Joan Porter, as sister Sunny. As written, the scenes with Sunny do not quite mesh with the rest of the play, and are almost extraneous to the plot, which is unfortunate, because they do provide some witty repartee. Dorothy dancing and singing injects some liveliness too. The interactions between Dorothy and eldest son Bob have some juice, mainly due to the fallback position of Dorothy as overbearing, meddling and even vitriolic mom, but the dialogue between the brothers has the feel of eavesdropping on mundane conversation, where the topics do not stray much from what is in the freezer that can be cooked for dinner, and favorite scenes from "Planet of the Apes".

Overall, You’ll Be Happy When I’m Dead does not cover any new ground, but does fulfill the Aching Dogs Theater function of showcasing the talents of its members. The performance I attended was on a brutally hot day in New York City, but the house was full, and the laughs from the crowd did not stop - testament to the fact that there is value for an audience in seeing something familiar that aims to please.

- Kessa De Santis -

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