My Mother, My Father and Me
THE STORY: The Halperns are a family with problems. Their apartment boasts one of Manhattan’s better addresses, but it isn’t big enough to suit them. Herman works and worries endlessly, but remains on the verge of bankruptcy; his son Bernie dabbles in everything from photography to folk singing without being able to “find himself"; and his wife, Rona is a compulsive shopper. And then there is Rona’s widowed mother, Mrs. Stern, whom the Halperns feel duty bound to take in…and then promptly assign to an airless broom closet. Her presence fans the flames of family discontent still higher. Eventually Mrs. Stern is packed off to a rest home, a chamber of horrors crammed with sad old people and predatory attendants. While she sinks into lonely misery her family goes on wasting and spending. Bernie flees to the Far West where he becomes an “Indian” and sells hand-made jewelry to the tourists. As the play ends he is making an enormous sale to an acquisitive woman from Cleveland. Her name is Rona Halpern, and she and husband Herman have, after another bout with bankruptcy, started over again in a fresh locale. But only the address is new. The people haven’t changed, and neither has the deadly cycle of getting and spending which has become their ethos in our tortured modern world.
Based on the book How Much? by Burt Blechman. “It’s comedy of ideas, cynicism and wit.” —Variety. “…immensely funny…relentlessly bitter.” —NY Post.