New Jersey Stage
New Jersey Stage on social media


BIG NEWS! Here's the latest Issue of NJ Stage Magazine -- Click here

REVIEW: "Linger" at Premiere Stages at Kean

By Gary Wien

originally published: 07/18/2018

REVIEW: "Linger" at Premiere Stages at Kean

(UNION, NJ) — Craig Garcia’s new play, Linger, gives new meaning to the term “nuclear family” and offers a powerful story, terrific performances, and fine direction by John J. Wooten.  Sadly, it has also changed the way I'll remember my favorite song by The Beach Boys.  I will never hear it without thinking of this play.

Linger opens with the family getting ready to go to a wedding and the father thinking about taking having the family take one final vacation together before their oldest child leaves for college.  Those plans change quickly when they see the flashing lights of a police car outside.  They soon realize the police are coming to their house.

James (the father played by Michael Frederic) and Mike (the son played by Robby Haltiwanger) are brought to the police station where Mike is questioned.  James calls home to tell his wife, Maryanne (played by Danielle Skraastad), that Mike is being charged with assault and possibly more.

REVIEW: "Linger" at Premiere Stages at Kean

Maryanne immediately calls a friend for help with finding a criminal lawyer.  While she is on the phone, Mike’s younger sister, Summer (played by Sarah Kathryn Makl), is both extremely upset and annoying as she tries to get answers from her mother while she is on an important phone call.

Mike is forced to spend the night in jail.  The play moves swiftly from the day Mike was arrested to when he’s back home.  He was released on bail - a pretty significant amount that left the family moving money from their savings.  Neither of the parents can believe or even comprehend what is happening. They thought they lived in such a safe area. They don’t believe their son could take part in beating someone.  But on social media…



The article continues after this ad

 


On social media, the story is everywhere.  Mike was one of many at a very big party in which a boy named Bobby Williams was beaten very badly.  The police think the attack was done because Bobby is gay.  Mike’s mother asks him what he remembers. He says he came home at midnight and didn’t see anything take place.  His mother recalls hearing him come in much closer to 2:30am though.

When Maryanne tells James about the discrepancy in time, the father doesn’t understand what the big deal is.  “It’s a difference between whether he was there when it happened or not,” explained Maryanne.  “I don’t think he’s being completely truthful.”

James describes the setting while Mike was being questioned.  “Every word was being manipulated,” he recalled.  He said they tried splitting them up, but he wouldn’t leave his son.

REVIEW: "Linger" at Premiere Stages at Kean“You liked Bobby, right?” James later asks his son.

“What do you mean? Why would you ask that?” replied Mike.

Meanwhile, his sister keeps mentioning stories and photos appearing on social media sites.  Both Mike and Summer are rarely seen without holding their phone.  The world of social media and smart phones play major roles in this play.  They are like characters we somewhat see, but never hear, and their importance in influencing public opinion is well understood and feared.

“These kids have no idea what happened and they’re writing this bullshit,” says James in frustration.  “Can’t you just say something to defend your brother?”

The playwright offers an insightful look at how difficult it is to remain private in a social media world. The parents wish they could just take away their phones and make everything go back to normal, but in reality the outside world is making threats to their children.

In a surprise twist, Bobby wants to see Maryanne, who was his pediatrician throughout his life.  Bobby’s father (played by Jonathan C. Kaplan) visits Maryanne in her office.  She does not think it’s a good idea to see him, but Bobby’s father persuades her to.

Bobby (played by Will Ehren) enters the room, walking gingerly, and in a lot of pain. Maryanne begins to examine him.  He’s suffered multiple broken ribs and a concussion. When he removes his shirt, we see bruises and scars covering his back, but that is nothing compared to what has happened from being forcibly raped by a bottle.  

REVIEW: "Linger" at Premiere Stages at Kean

“Did Mike do this to you?” she asks while trembling in shock.

Back home, James still appears to be in denial of the situation.  He again brings up talk about visiting Europe for vacation.  Maryanne reminds him of how much they have just spent on bail and will spend on legal fees - not to mention that Mike isn’t supposed to leave the state.  She also warns that this may not end anytime soon.

One of the most intense scenes occurs when Maryanne mentions that she saw Bobby in her office.  James immediately senses that this is a breakthrough for Mike — Bobby wouldn’t possibly go see Mike’s mother if Mike was guilty.  If anything, he knows they can use this to destroy Bobby’s character.  Maryanne is firmly against the idea - because she is worried Mike is guilty and worried the news could ruin her career.

“If you do this, I am never going to forgive you!” she cries out.  “You will break everything!”

This is not your standard television family with a problem that gets wrapped up in thirty minutes or less.  The members of this family yell at each other; they physically push and even attack one another; and their problems go much deeper than any broadcast drama.  The family has real problems and acts the way you would expect a family to act when their son is in the kind of trouble Mike has landed himself in. 

Because of the way we have been trained to see and hear families on television or on stage, the yelling seems louder, more forceful, and more detrimental. We are seeing a family destroying itself. The family is so believable, it makes the fighting seem much worse.  And the questions it raises are very difficult ones for any family:  Is our son capable of committing such an atrocity? Did he do it? If he is guilty, but we find a way to get the charges dropped, can we ever live with ourselves? 

REVIEW: "Linger" at Premiere Stages at Kean

The play takes part in two acts.  The first act is so powerful, so draining, one wonders how it can keep up the pace in the second act, but it does.  It benefits from some truly remarkable performances led by Danielle Skraastad whose gut wrenching primal scream will haunt you as you leave the theatre; Robby Haltiwanger’s nuanced portrayal of Bobby; Michael Frederic as the father who wants to help his son so badly that he ignores everything else; and Sarah Kathryn Makl whose character grows more complex as the play moves on.  Jonathan C. Kaplan (Bobby’s father) and Will Ehren (Bobby) are strong in supporting roles as well.

Linger is an excellent piece of theatre by Craig Garcia.  It received this production by winning the 2018 Premiere Play Festival. Once again, I found myself extremely impressed by the work done at Premiere Stages at Kean University.  They consistently present powerful works led by impressive casts and Linger is among the best I’ve seen yet. Highly recommended!



Premiere Stages at Kean University presents Linger on Thursdays and Fridays at 8:00pm; Saturdays at 3:00pm and 8:00pm; and Sundays at 3:00pm.  It runs until July 29th in the Bauer Boucher Theatre Center on the Kean University Main Campus in Union.

REVIEW: "Linger" at Premiere Stages at Kean

Photos by Mike Peters




For more by this author, click here






Holmdel Theatre Company Presents 'ART'
(HOLMDEL, NJ) – The Holmdel Theatre Company (HTC) will present 6 performances of Yasmina Reza’s ‘ART’  from December 7th through December 16th. Translated from French by Christopher Hampton, the play tells the story of what happens when Serge buys an expensive painting, and the reactions of his two closest friends, Marc and Yvan, to his purchase. As what begins as a discussion about the quality of the painting that Serge has purchased quickly devolves into petty jabs and personal attacks, the three men border on destroying their friendships.
Pebble Players Presents "Heathers, the Musical: High School Edition"
(SUMMIT, NJ) -- Celebrating their 10th season, Pebble Players has been entertaining Summit residents and audiences from surrounding towns with sophisticated Off-Broadway quality performances. The 2018 Season opens with "Heathers The Musical: High School Edition," directed by Jayne Myers and choreographed by Jaimie Woodruff.  Performances are Friday, November 16 and Saturday, November 17 at 7:30pm and Sunday, November 18 at 2:00pm. 
NJPAC Presents Duke Ellington's Sophisticated Ladies
(NEWARK, NJ) -- New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC) presents Duke Ellington's Sophisticated Ladies from Thursday, March 21, 2019 - Saturday, March 23, 2019. The high-style music of “The Duke” is the heart and soul of this 1981 Tony-winning Broadway hit, directed with dazzle by André De Shields (The Wiz). Mercedes Ellington, granddaughter of Duke Ellington, re-creates the original show’s elegant dancing and tapping as choreographer.
Princeton Chinese Theatre in collaboration with the Lewis Center for the Arts’ Program in Theater present Teahouse by Lao She
(PRINCETON, NJ) --Princeton Chinese Theatre in collaboration with the Lewis Center for the Arts’ Program in Theater at Princeton University will present Teahouse by Lao She on November 16, 17 and 18 at 8:00pm and November 17 at 2:00pm in the Donald G. Drapkin Studio at the Lewis Arts complex on the Princeton campus. Teahouse is considered a masterpiece of contemporary Chinese theater, spanning 50 years in modern Chinese history from the collapse of the Qing dynasty and the Republican Revolution to the birth of the People’s Republic, bringing together over sixty characters who represent all walks of life. The production is directed by senior Changshuo Liu.
Axelrod's Rising Stars Youth Performing Arts Program Presents "Peter Pan"
(OCEAN TOWNSHIP, NJ) --  A family musical that’s perfect for the holiday season, “Peter Pan” is flying onto the Axelrod stage December 8-16. Axelrod’s award-winning Rising Stars Youth Performing Arts program presents one of Broadway’s timeless classics in a fully staged production directed by Lisa Goldfarb with musical direction by Randy Hurst and choreography by Wendy Roman.  


Broadway’s Next H!T Musical LIVE! at Toms River’s Grunin Center
It’s Friday, October 26, 2018, and the Broadway’s Next H!T Musical cast is just about ready to take the stage at the Jay and Linda Grunin Center for the Arts, located on the campus of Ocean County College in Toms River, NJ.
The Last Apple Pie: "Apples In Winter" Opens At Centenary Stage
Jennifer Fawcett’s new play centers around a mother in a kitchen, doing something countless people across America will take part in over the upcoming holiday season: making an apple pie.
See Andrea McArdle LIVE! in Annie at Deal Park’s Axelrod PAC!
Leapin’ Lizards! Annie’s finally made it to the Axelrod Performing Arts Center in Deal Park, NJ, and it stars Broadway’s original Annie, Andrea McArdle, as Miss Hannigan!
"It's a Blast!" Go See Rock of Ages 10th Anniversary Tour NOW! at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino!
The five-time Tony award-nominated Broadway musical, Rock of Ages, returns to the stage with a 10th Anniversary Tour at Atlantic City’s Hard Rock Hotel & Casino! Performed in the venue’s ultra-modern Sound Waves theater, Rock of Ages runs from now until November 4, 2018.
There's One In Every Family: "Charley's Aunt" at The Shakespeare Theatre
On stage now through November 18 at the Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey, “Charley’s Aunt” is described as “part Oscar Wilde, part ‘Fawlty Towers,’ with a dash of South American spice!” This side-splitting British farce from 1892 has drag, mistaken identity, romance and plenty of physical comedy. Join Jesse and Dave at rehearsals in Florham Park to hear from the cast and director what makes this such a hilarious and enduring show.






Event calendar
Thursday, Nov 15, 2018


MUSIC

New Politics @ House of Independents, Asbury Park - 8:00pm

THE REPUTATIONS @ The Saint, Asbury Park - 7:30pm

TOTO @ Mayo Performing Arts Center (MPAC), Morristown - 8:00pm


THEATRE

An Actor's Carol @ Cape May Stage, Cape May - 7:30pm

ANNIE, The Musical @ Axelrod Performing Arts Center, Deal Park - 8:00pm

Apples In Winter @ Centenary Stage Company - Kutz Theater of the Lackland Center, Hackettstown - 7:30pm

Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat @ The Levoy Theatre, Millville - 7:30pm

Spring Awakening: The Rock Musical @ Black Box PAC, Teaneck - 8:00pm







DANCE

PARSONS DANCE @ State Theatre New Jersey, New Brunswick - 8:00pm


FILM

Crybaby Matinee: March of the Penguins @ Hopewell Theater, Hopewell - 11:00am

View all events










 






















For more on our awards, click here








New Jersey Stage © 2018 by Wine Time Media, LLC | PO Box 140, Spring Lake, NJ 07762 (732) 280-7625 | info@newjerseystage.com

Images used on this site have been sent to us from publicists, artists, and PR firms.
If there is a problem with the rights to any image, please contact us and we will look into the matter.