Presenting a two person play can be a harrowing experience; luckily, Stage Door Players has nothing to worry about with Visiting Mr. Green by Jeff Baron. Under the direction of Alan Kilpatrick, the theater presents a gripping drama about tradition and family that includes two actors giving strong and captivating performances.
At the heart of the play is a struggle with tradition, making this play seem like a modern version of Fiddler on the Roof. However, that comparison really doesn’t quite capture the drama and emotional impact that audiences will experience while watching the play.
Mr. Green, played flawlessly by Theo Harness, is an elderly Jewish man who has just lost his wife. After an accident where he was almost hit by car, Ross Gardiner (Chad Martin) visits him once a week under a court order. The two develop a friendship as the visits progress, and as their friendship develops as each one learns more information about the other, but one revelation will open a door that will force Mr. Green to question his religious traditions.
While the play touches on a variety of contemporary issues, such as Ross being gay, the dominant question of the play ponders whether or not Mr. Green will continue to live under the strict confines of tradition or seek to expand himself and get to know a side of his family he has never known.
Harness is heartbreaking and splendid in the role. The subtle gestures and looks he delivers show how helpless he is now that his wife is gone. Never having had to cook or clean for himself, Mr. Green’s loneliness and helplessness are masterfully displayed. Likewise Martin creates a memorable character. When he discusses his father’s attitude towards him at a dinner, he draws the audience’s sympathy with ease.
A splendid and powerful production, Visiting Mr. Green runs through February 17, 2013 at Stage Door Players in Dunwoody. For tickets and more information, please visit the theater’s website. The show’s runtime is two hours with an intermission.
– Kenny Norton