Successions – Probably one of the most difficult times in the life of an immediate family is when the children have to get together to settle their parents’ estate after they are both deceased. There are a lot of difference of opinions about the terms of a will and estate, especially when it comes to dividing up the property. Many times they are settled fairly and rationally; other times, it ends up dividing the children in an irreparable manner.
That’s the matter in question that’s explored in Michaela Di Cesare’s riveting dramedy “Successions”, which is playing at the Centaur Theatre until May 6.
The play centres around two Italian-Canadian brothers: Anthony (Carlo Mestroni), a successful lawyer-turned-candidate for a seat in the House of Commons and Enzo (Davide Chiazzese), a happy-go-lucky ne’er do well. The brothers gather with their respective mates (Anthony’s wife Cristina – played by Tara Nicodemo – is a former actress turned social climber) in the cluttered basement of their parents’ home in St. Leonard to settle the estate of their recently-deceased parents. Anthony wants Enzo to sign the necessary legal documentation so that the house can be sold and its assets liquidated. However, Enzo still has a sentimental attachment to the house where they grew up in, and hopes to keep it, so that he can renovate it by himself as a means of redemption not only for himself, but for his very pregnant girlfriend Nat (played to great comic effect by Gita Miller).
What should be a quick, uncomplicated procedure that should close the book on a difficult time in the life of that certain family dissolves into a great deal of bitterness, acrimony, snobbishness and deep divisions that lead to permanent family fractures. Di Cesare manages to capture all this drama quite effectively towards its divisive end, and adding bits of comic relief offers much needed moments of levity. And the best part is that you don’t have to be Italian or a St. Leonard resident to appreciate the message that is conveyed in “Successions”, and that anyone can identify with those difficult, highly emotional struggles between siblings that occur during the settling of a family estate.
“Successions” is a bittersweet, fascinating study of how the cracks in a family foundation happens, and because of a difference of opinion or motivation, those cracks cannot always be easily repaired.
For more information, or to purchase tickets to “Successions”, call 514-288-3161, or go to www.centaurtheatre.com
Feature image: Carlo Mestroni, Tara Nicodemo, Davide Chiazzese photo Andrée Lanthier