Thursday, February 27, 2014

Stage 3 - Park your Car in Harvard Yard - "lots of laughs" amid "retribution, redemption and reconciliation" by Shari Schweigler

A surprising entertainment has opened at Stage 3 Theatre in Sonora and continues through March 23.   Park Your Car in Harvard Yard  is the story of an elderly, retired schoolteacher and the young housekeeper he hires after living alone his entire adult life in the same Gloucester, Massachusetts, house where he grew up. It’s surprising because there are lots of laughs in the play despite the fact that it deals with themes of retribution, redemption, and reconciliation. 

            The play appeared on Broadway in the early 90’s with Jason Robards and Judith Ivey as “Mr. Brackish” and “Kathleen Hogan.”  The Sonora production features Stephen Daly and Susannah Holland and was directed by Van Gordon, Stage 3’s new artistic director.

            Over the course of one year, the audience sees Kathleen, the recently-widowed housekeeper, change from a backward bumbler to a mischievous manipulator.  Of course, Mr. Brackish is no easy charge, and we may sympathize with Kathy’s frustrations in dealing with him.  But from their first day together it appears they have been comically mis-matched, and one could wonder why they continue to put up with each other. Only failing health it seems has forced Daly’s character to tolerate Holland’s and allow her to live in his home.  Apparently they each have an agenda, and the pleasure lies in finding out whether or not they can resolve their differences, how they will or won’t, and why they would even want to.

            Daly is most convincing as the fussy, domineering former teacher of literature and music appreciation, who is used to having everything go his own way.  It is easy to imagine how he could have terrorized students with his formidably high standards, something he is only slightly less interested in doing to Kathleen.  In the beginning Holland portrays such a mousey little thing, with her own way of keeping house and butchering the English language. that it is quite surprising to see how she changes.  But the best-kept secrets are finally revealed, and the “why” of this makeshift relationship finally becomes clear.

            The theater is located at 208 South Green Street, in downtown Sonora.  Tickets can be purchased online at or by calling the box office at 209-536-1778.  Box office hours are 4-7 pm, Thursday through Saturday, and Sunday 1-2, and Wednesday 10-2. 

Park your Car in Harvard Yard runs through March 23, 2014.

Shari Schweigler