Pickwick Players, Inc.

More on Previous Performances Pg2
About Us
Upcoming Performances updt 10/31/05
Previous Performances
Newsletter Page
Getting Involved
Pickwick Activities
Prior Cast Members - Page 1
Cast Members pg2
Cast Members pg3
Cast Members pg4
Cast Members pg5
Cast Members pg6
Cast Members pg7
Cast Members pg8
More on Previous Performances
More on Previous Performances Pg2

Fall of 2005, with rehersals in August, brought Brighton Beach Memoirs to the Blackstone Valley directed by Matt Carr.

Pickwick Player's Fall 2005 Production
October 14,15,16, 21, 22, 23

Brighton Beach Memoirs:  Part one of Neil Simon's autobiographical trilogy;  a portrait of the writer as a brooklyn teenager in 1937 living with his family in crowded, lower middle class circumstances.  Eugene, the young Neil Simon, is the narrator and central character.  His mind is full of fiercely fantasized dreams of baseball and dimly fantasized images of girls.  The play captures a few days in the life of a struggling jewish household that includes Eugene's hard working father, his sharp tongued monther, his older and vastly more experienced brother Stanley, his widowed aunt and her two young daughters.  As Eugene's father says, "if you didn't have a problem, you wouldn't live in this house."  Two have heart disease, one has asthma, and two at least temporarily lose jobs needed to keep the straightened family afloat.  Family miseries are used to raise such enduring issues as sibling resentments, guilt ridden parent child relationships and the hunger for dignity in a poverty stricken world.  It is a deeply appealing play that deftly mixes drama with comedy.

Brighton Beach Memoirs Cast
Bottom row LtoR: Betty, Mark, Diane. Top: Maggie, Aaron, Colin, Emily

The cast includes Aaron Chase (Eugene), Betty Kristan (Blanche), Diane Pollard (Kate), Maggie Pollard (Laurie), Emily Langille (Nora), Collin Howder (Stanley), Mark Patrick (Jack).

Brighton Beach Memoirs Director - Matt Carr


Pickwick Players Theater Production receives 3 1/2 stars out of four  from Telegram and Gazette Theater Reviewer; Paul Kolas (10/18/05)
 ‘Brighton Beach’ shines in Pickwick Players show

WHITINSVILLE— One suspects that Neil Simon developed his marvelous sense of humor and sharp ear for dialogue as a way of coping with his formative years growing up in Brooklyn.

That certainly is the prevailing impression one receives from watching Matthew Carr’s perceptively directed production of “Brighton Beach Memoirs” at Pickwick Players’ Upstage Theatre in Whitinsville on Saturday night. What is especially satisfying about this intimately funny and moving portrait of a struggling Jewish family in 1937 is how the Upstage Theatre’s multi-angled viewing facility makes one feel even more drawn into Eugene Morris Jerome’s adolescent world.
Call “Brighton Beach Memoirs” a serious comedy or a comic drama, but in either case, Pickwick Players serves it memorably.

Eugene Morris Jerome
Aaron Chase

Rehearsing - how to you get to a 3 1/2 star?  Rehearse, Rehearse, Rehearse -
And in Eugene's Case - it's practice, practice, practice as this 15 year old dreams of playing center field someday for the New York Yankees -or- become a writer just in case.

Betty Kristan

Blance, the seamstress, has been living with Kate and her family ever since her husband Dave died.  .... Speaking of dying - Jeff St. Jean, the Stage Manager (& I, the webmaster) must have killed quite a few fingers trying to get that "antique" sewing machine inserted into the cabinet... 

Mark Patrick

Here is Mark taking a short nap ;-)   Jack, is the breadwinner who keeps the family going forward while carrying the weight of the world.  As Jack says, "if you didn't have a problem, you wouldn't live in this house!".

Maegan Pollard, for her part, portrays Laurie with an observant regard for the family dynamic surrounding her.  (T&G review)

Kate & Laurie
Diane Pollard and her real Daughter Maegan

Showtime -
Aaron Chase & Collin Howder

Stan explaining to his little brother, Jerome - the facts of life ... and even POP! 
T&G review; "Aaron Chase brings this precocious bundle of hormones to life in a performance that gets all the essential details right: Eugene’s dreamy crush on his cousin Nora; his deft ability to negotiate his way around the constant demands of his tough love mother, Kate; his conspiratorially affectionate relationship with his older brother, Stanley; and best of all, his confidential addresses to us, the audience.

As Chase plays him, it’s impossible not to like Eugene, or to identify with his secret yearnings and pubescent curiosity. What one carries away, movingly, from Howder’s reading of Stanley is a melancholic undertone of regret for missed opportunities he wants Eugene to avoid duplicating.   Collin Howder, as Stanley, acts with a steady naturalness that complements Chase’s hyperbolic style extremely well. One feels a real affinity between these two: the younger brother looking up to his older, more experienced, and presumably wiser brother to educate him in the ways of the world."

Diane Pollard
Betty Kristan

These two will make you laugh then bring tears to your eyes with some strong performances.  T&G Review; "Diane Pollard is wonderfully authentic as Kate, skillfully walking the fine line between willfulness and vulnerability as she orders Eugene to run an errand to Greenblatt’s grocery store or eat his liver at dinner, confronts her sister, Blanche, about all the sacrifices she’s had to make at the expense of her own desires, or worries about husband Jack’s declining health. Pollard skillfully delineates Kate’s matriarchal persona as well as her long buried resentments about Blanche being the favored sister when they were growing up.

Betty Kristan effectively counters Pollard’s vigorous Jewish matron with a performance of calibrated understatement as Blanche, who along with her two daughters, Nora and Laurie, has been living with Kate and her family ever since her husband Dave died. Kristan does a nice job of conveying Blanche’s diffident personality and guilt over her reliance on Kate for support. You feel her pain on those rare occasions when she dares to raise her normally quiet emotional temperature. "

Maegan Pollard, Betty, & Emily Langille

Aside from the actors - the stage and props is what brings a play to life.  Where do we find such things as this "collectable" singer sewing machine?  My grandmother & mother had one of these that went to good use in 'dem days!".

Emily as Nora & Maegan as Laurie

Sibling rivalry is a theme that embraces several in this extended family. Nora feels that her younger sister, Laurie, is also favored by her mother, since she has a heart murmur. Nora’s resentment is intensified by her mother’s refusal to let her try out for a Broadway show. Emily Langille is so warm and vibrant as Nora, it’s no wonder her cousin would have a crush on her. When she tearfully accuses her mother of not loving her, Langille and Kristan play out this mini-drama with searing emotion. 

Collin Howder as Stan & Mark Patrick as Jack

T&G Review; One certainly feels the weight of the world upon Jack’s weary shoulders in Mark Patrick’s wise, finely wrought and soulful interpretation of him. Jack is the kind of father a son like Stanley can come to and confide in without fear of retribution, someone who can remember his own young man’s foolishness, and Patrick portrays him with deeply felt clarity.



More scenes from the show

Mark & Diane

Emily & Maegan




Aaron & Collin

Betty & Diane


Click on Hand for Previous Page
Red Hand Pointing Left

Click Hand for Next Page
Blue Glass Hand Pointing Right

Select the Navigational Hand above to go to the next or previous page

Copyright 6/08/01, PickWick Players - no section of this website may be copied or used without expressed written consent from the board of directors.