Written by Stanley Greenberg Friday, 13 November 2009 00:00
Saturday night! Nothing scheduled. A rarity. Let me check the movies! Not one film that looks interesting! How about the plays on the Island? Is Jackie Mason at Tilles Center? I like him but we saw him recently. Nothing else looks appealing. Let’s look at the smaller, less costly shows. A last minute show on a Saturday night, in a local theater, would be ideal. Let’s see now. A mystery thriller in Lindenhurst; an A.C. Gurney in East Hampton, a musical in East Islip, Neil Simon in Freeport, a comedy in Bohemia, Chinese acrobats in Patchogue. Isn’t there anything closer to Jericho?
Wait a second – I think I found something. Two one-act plays by Anton Chekhov in Garden City at the Ethical Humanist Society of Long Island. You and I both love Chekhov. We saw The Seagull on Broadway last year. That’s the show, but where is this theater? I’d never heard of it.
The address is 38 Old Country Road in Garden City at the Ethical Humanist Society Building. Carefully in the darkness we traveled westward on Old Country Road. A large brick building with ample parking space was the right place.
We gladly paid our $15 per person for the show and we entered a huge room. We sat in the very first row and waited for the show to begin. The first play, The Boor, was set in Mrs. Popov’s living room in Russia in the late 19th century. The plot is, a farmer, former officer comes to collect a debt from a grieving widow. She chases him away but he won’t leave. He despises her and then loves her. Suddenly, after some cajoling, she loves him desperately and the curtain comes down. Real, delightful Chekhov.
After a 15-minute intermission, The Marriage Proposal is set to begin. In the meanwhile, between refreshments, Lorraine has questioned a member of the society about its aims and ideals. “Deed not Creed” is a banner hanging in the auditorium. It is a non-dogmatic, non-theistic organization. No higher power is sought. “They are a spiritual home for people who come together to explore and practice ethical ways of achieving more meaningful lives.” The house lights flickered and we returned to our seats.
The second act is even funnier than the first. It employs quick talking, staccato dialogue between three people. The actors were totally professional. John Payne was extremely talented as was everybody participating. His range of character portrayals was extraordinary.
This play will be seen at this location this Saturday, Nov. 14, and Sunday, Nov. 15. Call 741-7304 for tickets and details. You will not be sorry. They turned a desolate Saturday evening into a joyous one.