A compassionately written story evoking humanity and the bitter choices we sometimes are forced to make is the core message in Ed Graczyk’s “A Murder of Crows,” a funny yet tragic stage play. A playwright whose works include many children’s plays, Graczyk is best known for his award winning screenplay adaptation, Come Back to the 5 & Dime, Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean, which one Best Screenplay at the Belgium International Film Festival in 1982.
The imagery rich tale is reminiscent of the real life ecological disaster of the late 70s at Love Canal in Niagara Falls, New York, where toxins began percolating in the soil of the resident’s homes and their school, ultimately causing widespread illness, cancer, and birth defects.
Such is the case for rural Wallace, Ohio, in 1984 where potato farmer Harley Woodson (played by Ben Kendall) and his wife Jennie (played by Barbara Hannevig) own a general store. After the last hurrah of a bicentennial celebration, the town is declared a toxic waste dump, and the Woodson’s business flounders as folks are quickly evacuating. Fast becoming a ghost town, they are just about the last residents remaining. While the air and grounds are poisoned, unfortunately, so is Harley. In a cruel twist of fate, the place that once gave him his livelihood has now given him cancer.
While Jennie wants to join the others who’ve moved away, Harley chooses to stay. Rather than move to Erie, Pennsylvania, to live in a trailer with their son Corey (played by Sean Collins) and his wife, Doris (played by Emily West), he fights the idea of moving, wishing to live out the rest of his life in Wallace, such as it is.
In the midst of the family’s drama, a loquacious widow (played by Ginny Swan) enters the scene. Before she moves away, another neighbor, the town’s gravedigger and auto mechanic, Luther (played by Joe Tranchitella), serendipitously comes into her life.
“It’s a very funny play,” said Director Greg Kasander. “With stories about strange neighbors and their personality foibles, this play is about the power of storytelling…a humane story dealt a bad set of cards… it makes the best of the worst situation…”
Beautifully written to capture the heart of humanity in both life and death, the Woodson family wrestles with their circumstances and feelings with emotion and compassion. There are stunning twists and turns while they deal with changes that could possibly face us all.
Production Crew —
Director: Greg Kasander
Producer: Courtney Katz
Stage Manager: Kim Paczkowski
BOD Advisor: Arnie Finkel
If you go:
Playcrafters presents “A Murder of Crows” at the Barn - 2011 Store Road at Skippack Pike, Skippack.
OCt. 5,6,7,13,14,19,20,21 at 8 p.m. Oct. 15 at 3 p.m.
Tickets: $17. For more infmation visit <www.playcrafters.org> or call 610-584-4005.