Successions adds to
plays about inheritance
Michaela Di Cesare’s new play deals with an all too common family dilemna
By Byron Toben
Inheritance has played a role in many a play, from olden times till now.
In Greek drama and Shakespeare, the plot often concerned crowns and lands. See for instance, Oedipus, Antigone and Seven Against Thebes, as well as Richard II, Richard III and King Lear.
In more recent times, for lesser rewards, we have such as Arthur Miller’s The Price, Lillian Hellman’s The Little Foxes and Tennessee Williams Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. I do not include Lawrence and Lee’s Inherit the Wind as that is an asset no one wants. Well, maybe alternative energy wind farms.
Now comes Montréal’s own Michaela Di Cesare who is on a roll, with her world premiere of Successions.
This play deals with an Italian-Canadian family that inherits a dilapidated duplex crammed with lots of junk items. The heirs are two brothers. The elder is Anthony (Carlo Mestroni) who has risen from poverty to become a corporate litigation and estate-planning expert. He is now planning to run for political office under the Conservative banner. He has married Cristina (Tara Nicodemo), a show biz type who is doubling as his campaign manager.
Lots of clever banter and good pacing by director Tamara Brown…
Younger brother Enzo (Davide Chiazzese), a blue-collar type, is a plumber who has married a seemingly coarser woman, Nat (Gita Miller) upon short acquaintance, now in late pregnancy.
As the duplex is burdened with three mortgages, its value is less than its debt, which would be borne by the heirs. Fights ensue over whether to renounce the title, sometimes seriously violent, sometimes playfully re-enacting their youth as teenage brothers.
Lots of clever banter and good pacing by director Tamara Brown, better known as a leading actor, here adding to her employable skills.
Credit also Anita Nittoly for excellent fight choreography.
I mentioned above that Ms Di Cesare is on a roll. Besides her 2015 Fringe hit, In Search of Mrs Pirandello, remounted at the Centaur’s 2016 Wild Side (and starring Mr Chiazzese as Pirandello), her own one-act as part of the 2017 Centaur’s Urban Tales, she won first prize at the 2017 Infinitheatre play reading series for Extra/Beautiful/U. This usually guarantees a production in due course.
Successions plays at the Centaur until May 6.
514 288-3161 or centaurtheatre.com
Byron Toben is the immediate past-president of the Montreal Press Club.