As children grow into adults, move away from home, and retreat into their independent silos of career and relationships, family dinners with mom and dad grow more infrequent. So when families do come together again, under the auspices of holiday celebrations, it’s easy for tensions to flare and repressed emotions to boil to the surface among the exchanged gifts, devoured turkeys, and special silverware.
This is the relatable premise of Sean Grennan’s Making God Laugh, which world-premiered in Wisconsin in 2011. The play opens in the home of “empty nest” parents on Thanksgiving 1980, when Jimmy and Ruthie’s three grown children are visiting. The narrative proceeds with similar scenes ten years apart — Christmas in 1990, New Year’s Eve in 2000, and Easter in the present day. Laughs will be exchanged as well as tears in a story that suggests the seriocomic filial catharses of Jon Robin Baitz’s Other Desert Cities filtered through the time-skipping structure of Sharr White’s Six Years. David Arisco directs Peter Haig, Angie Radosh, Michael Focas, Deborah Sherman, and Gregg Weiner in Actors’ Playhouse’s Florida premiere.
Wednesdays-Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 3 p.m. Starts: Dec. 4. Continues through Dec. 29, 2013