by Abigail Wisniewski
Friday, Nov. 6 kicked off the opening weekend for Concordia’s production of “Lost in Yonkers” by Neil Simon.
“Lost in Yonkers” tells the story of the Kurnitz family living in Yonkers, New York, during the 1940s. Circumstances lead to two brothers, Jay, played by Kaleb Busche, and Artie, played by sophomore Mark Esser, living with their grandmother, played by junior Emily Kollbaum. During their time in Yonkers, the boys learn about the upbringing of their father, Eddie (played by junior Andrew Crist), Aunt Bella (played by junior Allison Caudle), and Aunt Gert (played by junior Lindsey LaMountain). Through examining the issues of each family member, the boys begin to understand why their family members act the way they do as adults.
“It’s a really intense show,” Caudle said. “There’s a lot of conflict, and a lot of emotion, and just trying to fully understand what every member of the family has gone through, and how they all connect to each other really creates those relationships that have to be brought out in the show.”
The actors drew from their own family experiences and took advantage of the small cast size to grow closer to each other during the two months of preparation for the show so they could present the complex relationships of the Kurnitz family.
“You see the family conflict and how each individual of the family is working for the best of themselves, but also the best for the family,” Kollbaum said. “It’s like a realistic view in the life and struggles of a family.”
Audience members of a wide range of ages and backgrounds can relate to the diverse situations presented by the characters. The characters display the stress experienced by parents, the desire to be loved and the results of growing up in harsh situations.
“I think the issues are worthy of seeing and discussing,” director Bryan Moore said. “I think we could start a great dialogue, and I hope people are brave enough to take it on with us.”
The actors described the show as an “emotional rollercoaster.” As the plot develops, characters experience everything from joy to stress to utter despair through experiences that the actors hope the audience will be able to relate to and feel with them.
Audience responses after the first performance indicated that the audience connected to the performances.
“You saw yourself in so much of them,” said sophomore Cadence Klemp. “You realize they’re not perfect, but I’m not perfect either.”
“Lost in Yonkers” will be performed again in Weller Auditorium at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 13 and Saturday, Nov. 14 and at 2 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 15 in Weller Auditorium. Tickets are available in the bookstore or at the door and cost $4 for Concordia faculty, staff and students and $8 for general admission.