Jewish immigrants from Germany, each member of the Kurnitz family is deeply effected by the world war as well as several more intimate wars erupting in their own psyches. The grandmother, played beautifully by Tamar Cohn, is a tough old bird with a soft heart that she keeps encased in steel in order to ensure her family’s survival. Her son Eddie (Michael Sally), whose wife died of cancer, comes to his mother in Yonkers to talk her into caring for his two sons while he takes a job in the south supporting the war effort. Though reluctant, she gives in because Eddie’s sister talks her into it. Aunt Bella (Sarah Green) loves her brother’s two sons and enjoys cooking for them and making them ice-cream Sundays. She’s the only cheerful member of the family, part of which is probably due to a touch of Down’s syndrome. Her brother Louie (Bruce Viera) has learned to survive outside the law and Eddie’s sons Jay (David Abrams) and Arty (Kyle Lemie) look up to him as a dark mythic figure.
This wide range of characters does provide a lot of great comedy, but the depth that this excellent cast takes each character to is what really turns this family’s story into powerful drama. As we delve into the intricate ways each member of the family has developed in order to survive in a chaotic world, we learn some very primal lessons of how humor, love and compassion can help us endure war.
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