NJT Closes Milestone 20th Season with 4000 MILES a Small Story with a Big Heart
The New Jewish Theatre closes its milestone 20th Season with Amy Herzog's 4000 Miles which will run May 11- 28. It quietly tells of the developing relationship between a 91 year old "lefty" political activist and her 21 year old grandson. Their evolving relationship, spanning a 70 year age gap, is at the heart of 4000 Miles.
It's the middle of the night. 21 year old Leo has just arrived on the doorstep of the rent-controlled West Village apartment (last redecorated in 1968) where his 91 year old grandmother Vera lives. Her solitary existence is entirely shaken when Leo, appears fresh from a cross-country bike ride and grieving deeply for his best friend and biking partner, Micah. During his several weeks stay with his grandmother, he and Vera bond over love, loss, and the difficulties of growing up and growing old.
This is not grand or epic theatre, but theatre of immensely rewarding intimacy as we experience this growing relationship up close and personal. The play takes place over a few weeks, during which nothing of great moment takes place. Leo is still reeling from a series of tragic events. He is lost. And the manner in which he slowly finds himself again, through a growing intimacy with Vera, is the moving heart of the play. Vera too, finds herself with a companion, a situation she has not experienced since the death of her husband more than 10 years earlier.
In this beautifully rendered portrait of the relationship between this old-style lefty grandmother and her new-style lefty grandson, Ms. Herzog captures the precise texture of life in all its ambiguity and lack of tidy resolution, yet holds our attention by tapping into the compassion and curiosity about human nature that draws us to the theater. It's a small story about a big idea: the power of compassion to heal. Herzog's play is truthful and touching.
The play received an Obie Award for best new play and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in drama.
Edward Coffield directs the production which features, Rachel Fenton, Grace Langford, Amy Loui* and Chris Tipp*. 4000 Mileswill run May 11 - 28 in the JCC's Wool Studio Theatre, 2 Millstone Campus Drive. There will be post-show talkbacks with the cast after the May 17 and 25 performances. Tickets are $39.50 - $43.50 and are available at newjewishtheatre.org or 314-442-3283