“The Big Meal” produced by New Century Theatre Company

A drama about life—yours, mine, all of ours—played out with captivating humor and poignancy. “The Big Meal” presents the lives of four generations of the same family in less than 90 minutes. If you think that’s impossible, rush out, get your tickets, and prepare to be delighted. This is the funniest, most exquisite production that, in the end, touched me so deeply I wept.

Written by the award-winning Dan LeFranc, the play reveals the tensions and frustrations of family life as well as the love that conquers all. Young people fall in love. Parents get frustrated with the children they so dearly love. Children grow into maturity and establish their own lives. Expectations change. Parents become grandparents. Old age creeps in. Bereavement is inescapable. Yet throughout, there is a lot to laugh at.

It all takes place in a modest eating establishment where tables are arranged next to one another in front of a long banquette. It’s reminiscent of restaurants we’ve all frequented. The familiarity of Carol Wolfe Clay’s set works wonderfully to deepen our relationship to the play and its characters.

We know this place, just as we know the emotional ups and downs that take place here. It’s here that the actors look lovingly at one another, excitedly converse, make life decisions, celebrate milestones, angrily review their dissatisfactions, revel in their shared joys, mourn their losses. It’s here that the characters move through life from awkward first date to old age. As we watch them experience both the joys and sorrows that life brings to them, of course think of our own lives.

As usual in New Century Theatre productions, the acting is first rate. Kudos to Director Makaela Pollock and the entire cast. Amy Thone’s nuanced performance, however, is simply amazing. Watch her play three generations of the same woman experiencing life’s delights and disappointments. That alone is worth the price of the ticket.

Through Nov. 19, at 12th Ave. Arts, 1620 12th Ave., Seattle, (253 906-3348 or info@wearenctc.org).

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