Visiting Mr. Green
Reviewed by David Kashimba
Photo by Charles Jarrett

The effect of isolation on the human spirit has been a growing theme of American writers in recent years. Though our information age has so many new gadgets designed to aid communication, they can often have a backlash effect. This is certainly the case with the generation gap. Many older Americans grew up in a simpler time and canít bring themselves to embrace the computer age while the younger generation is brought up on it and thrive in that environment.

Visiting Mr. Green, a play by Jeff Baron, explores many facets of a generation gap in our modern world. Fed by a variety of prejudices, the gapís most lethal ingredient is the isolation it imposes on individuals. In Playhouse Westís production staring Dean Goodman as the elder Mr. Green and Zach Hummell as the young Ross Gardner, we watch the two men struggle between their growing need to end their isolation and their insufferable resistance to change.

Mr. Green is Jewish and his wife has passed away. He has a daughter but refuses to have anything to do with her since she married a non-Jewish man. His prejudices have basically kept him isolated in his small New York City apartment. Ross is a gay young executive working for American Express. When he nearly hits Mr. Green with his hot sports car, the court sentences him to community service for his reckless driving. Ironically, the service is to help Mr. Green with the buying of groceries and cleaning of his apartment. At first, Ross doesnít want to be there and Mr. Green doesnít want him there, but both men are basically good compassionate people and in time they grow on each other. But itís a rocky road full of comic bumps that are very entertaining, and weíre never sure whether both men will reach the end of that road together.

Goodman and Hummell are excellent and director Lois Grandi adds her special touch of bringing opposites together. The synergy of this production is evident in the sparks of laughter, the smoke of conflict and the fire of human emotion.

For tickets or more information call (925) 942-0300.

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