The Arty Semite
By CURT SCHLEIER Published: December 6, 2012
The Last Seder is a powerful and haimish play that is sad yet uplifting, and true to contemporary times. The Price family is together for what is likely their last Passover Seder in their Rockaway home. The father, Marvin (Greg Mullavey), is suffering through the late stages of Alzheimer’s. He soils himself and doesn’t recognize his own family. The task of caring for him has fallen to his wife, Lily (Kathryn Kates), though that will soon change.
The house is up for sale, and the proceeds will go to pay for Marvin’s nursing home. Because it’s been so difficult a year for Lily, the usual, large Seder with extended family has been cancelled. Only the four Price daughters and their guests are invited.
But, as with any family gathering, everyone also brings along their meshugas. Daughter Claire (Abigail Rose Solomon) is accompanied by her frustrated fiancé, Jon (Eric T. Miller). They’ve talked about marriage and children forever, it seems, but every time he wants to take a step forward she takes two steps back. The youngest child, Angel (Natalie Kuhn), is a hippie who has been on the road and believes she is on the same psychic wavelength as the African-American love of her life, Luke (Andy Lucien). Julia (Sarah Winkler), a pregnant psychologist who analyzes everyone, is accompanied by Jane (Melisa Breiner-Sanders), her significant other, who is not Jewish. And Michele (Gaby Hoffman) opens the play in Penn Station picking up a stranger, Jon (Eric T. Miller), to pose as her Jewish boyfriend. Even the indefatigable Lily has a secret. She’s been seeking solace and keeping time with Harold (John Michalski), the widower next door.
On the surface, it seems that Marvin and Lily were good parents, accepting of their children’s decisions and peccadilloes. This family seems filled with love and respect. But at this moment it appears their relationships likely will implode — unless there is a Passover miracle.