The family unit is the foundation of society. Be it peaceful or turbulent, antagonistic or benign, successful or struggling, they are bonds that tie us, bind us, and even unite us, even if we are unwilling participants.
Funny and terrible, is it not, that those who love us most, know us best, warts and all? The painting that we color for ourselves becomes opaque by the biting truth of kin who see right through us.
Nicky Silver’s The Lyons throws a hard left to the concept we have for the typical family and by doing so, points the cruel formalities of love and war at our own. Directed by Scott Alan Smith, this production starts out as a dark comedy then deftly switches to drama. It is sudden, but works in spectacular fashion.
The Lyons is not typical by any stretch of the imagination. Each character has their own particular tragedy to hide and agenda to fulfill. Strong-willed Rita (an amazing Judith Scarpone) visits her dying husband Ben (James Handy) who is more cantankerous than ever. Rita is already choosing the design of the living room after Ben expires. Enter daughter Lisa (a charismatic Verity Branco) and son Curtis (Chad Coe) who have not been told of their father’s imminent demise.
The conflict is real; the dialogue crisp and relevant. The script allows each actor to flesh out his or her character with an ardent candor. With apt direction by Smith, who utilizes a great design to its fullest.
Interesting how a story of complete strangers who are so remote from our own reality can strike such a deep and memorable chord.