Autumn is an ideal time for family get-togethers, apple picking and all things fall. There were plenty of family affairs going on throughout the Upper Delaware River region over the last few days, and as I leashed the pup and meandered the countryside in search of fall foliage to photograph, I managed to soak up some local flavor along the way. Family was on my mind over the weekend, and although mine is scattered far and wide, I didn’t have to look far to find a connection between others as I took my seat for a performance of Jerry Sterner’s “Other People’s Money” at the Tusten Theatre in Narrowsburg last Friday night.
Beverly Sterner, sister of playwright Jerry, was seated in front of me, and as the lights went down, I asked her what it was like to see her brother’s play come to life. “Oh, it’s exciting,” she said, “I think this company [Act Underground] is doing a fantastic job bringing live theatre to the community.” The play, written in 1989 and later made into a feature film starring Danny DeVito, Gregory Peck and Piper Laurie, is a tale of greed, avarice and complicated familial relationships and revolves around corporate raiders and an unvarnished look at how they tear a family apart at the seams by a desire to make money by any means necessary.
Directed with a deft hand by Wendy Kaufman, the cast, led by Chet Carlin, Kirk Wise, Naomi Holach, Peter Walsh and Heidi Mollenhauer, delivered strong performances all around, but Walsh and Mollenhauer stood out portraying Wall Street raider “Larry the Liquidator” Lawrence Garfield and legal adversary Kate Sullivan, respectively. Carlin, in the role of Andrew Jorgenson, stepped into the role late in the rehearsal process (replacing Narrowsburg’s Ed Boyer, who was forced to step down due to health issues), but his performance belied any indication that he had less time than the others. Simultaneously sympathetic and strong willed, the patriarch of the family is unwilling to accept the fact that his family business is in any real danger of being swallowed up, and Carlin’s nuanced performance was (IMHO) remarkable. Having Beverly in the audience made the production even more special, and I think the cast must have been thrilled to bring the show to life, right here in her own backyard.
Costumed families were frolicking at Pumpkin Fest in Barryville the next day as I joined River Reporter staffers down by the river on the grounds of the Carriage House for the annual salute to all things pumpkin. Between the pumpkin-carving contest, a pie-eating competition, a scarecrow-making event and live music throughout the day, there was something for everyone at Pumpkin Fest, and it was great fun observing the little ones strutting their stuff on stage as they took part in the costume contest and posed in our photo booth while perusing the wide array of vendors and food stations set up on the grounds.
Even though birds tend to make me nervous, I was thrilled to stand back and watch the kids interact with an exotic feathered creature named “Flint” who spread his wings for admirers, including New York State Assemblywoman Aileen Gunther, who was clearly less afraid of him than I. Sure that I would be a hit with the kids, I was a bit crestfallen when some were not familiar with the “Where’s Waldo” costume that I donned to man the booth, but their parents recognized me. I was forced to face another fear when “Bubbles the Clown” stopped by to greet the dog.
Everyone had a great time and we got some fun pics of the kids in the process, which can be viewed at www.face book.com/theriverreporter. Hopefully, I’ll be able to find time to get a few more fall festivals in before the last of the leaves flutter to the ground and take my cue from some of the brave young souls out there, determined to show me that I needn’t be so afraid of things that go bump in the night. Halloween is just around the corner, so it looks like I need to find a new costume and put my “big boy” pants on before someone tries to scare me again.