Michael Schwendemann is recharging his batteries. While the Huntington High School drama club faculty advisor gives everything he has to the organization, he’s taking a break this summer to do some acting of his own. But before shifting into a lower gear for the next few weeks, he concluded the long process of choosing next fall’s drama production.
Huntington High School’s fall play will be A.R. Gurney’s The Dining Room. “The play is set in the dining room of a typical well-to-do household, the place where the family assembles daily for breakfast and dinner and for any and all special occasions,” according to an overview by the Dramatists Play Service.
Huntington drama club faculty advisor
Mr. Schwendemann believes the high school drama club members and the audiences that typically turn out for the annual stage productions will enjoy the story and action of The Dining Room.
“The action is comprised of a mosaic of interrelated scenes—some funny, some touching, some rueful—which, taken together, create an in-depth portrait of a vanishing species: the upper-middle-class WASP,” according to the Dramatists Play Service. “The actors change roles, personalities and ages with virtuoso skill as they portray a wide variety of characters, from little boys to stern grandfathers, and from giggling teenage girls to Irish housemaids. Each vignette introduces a new set of people and events; a father lectures his son on grammar and politics; a boy returns from boarding school to discover his mother's infidelity; a senile grandmother doesn't recognize her own sons at Christmas dinner; a daughter, her marriage a shambles, pleads futilely to return home, etc. Dovetailing swiftly and smoothly, the varied scenes coalesce, ultimately, into a theatrical experience of exceptional range, compassionate humor and abundant humanity.”
The New York Post said the show is “hilarious and touching . . . as comic sketch crazily succeeds comic sketch, a whole pattern of American life emerges.” The New York Daily News said “The Dining Room serves a banquet of theatrical riches.” Variety called the play “a thoughtful and superbly written comedy.” The New York Times said the show is “often funny and rueful and, by the end, very moving.”
Mr. Schwendemann said cast auditions for the play will be held on Thursday, September 7 at 2:30 p.m. in the Huntington High School auditorium. Rehearsals will get underway on Wednesday, September 13 at 2:30 p.m.
The curtain will go up for the first of three performances on Friday, November 3 at 7:30 p.m. Performances are also scheduled for Saturday, November 4 at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.