Vermont Theatre Company presents I Never Sang For My Father
From left, Louise Krieger, Michael Kauffman, Jonathan Hathaway, Robyn Manning, Jon Mack, Sam Murphy, and Nancy Groff appear in VTC’s upcoming production of “I Never Sang for My Father.”

Vermont Theatre Company presents I Never Sang For My Father

BRATTLEBORO — Vermont Theatre Company presents I Never Sang For My Father by Robert Anderson (known for his plays Tea and Sympathy and You Know I Can't Hear You When the Water's Running), and directed by Robert Kramsky.

Performances are May 15 through May 24 at the Hooker Dunham Theater in Brattleboro.

In I Never Sang For My Father, Anderson, often described as the “dramatist of loneliness,” explores the hard truths about aging parents and the responsibilities grown children have toward parents in failing health. It is the moving story of Gene, an easy going, recently-widowed college professor, with an elderly mother whom he loves and an 80-year old emotionally abusive father, whom he has never loved, as hard as he has tried.

The father, Tom Garrison, has been the mayor of a small town in Westchester County, self-made and highly respected. Beneath those trappings, however, he is a mean and unloving man, who has banished his realistic and unsentimental daughter, Alice, for marrying a Jew and has alienated his son through his possessiveness, his selfishness, and his endless reminiscences.

Suddenly Gene's courageous and patient mother, Margaret, dies and Gene is faced with the responsibility of having his father on his hands, just at a time when he wants to remarry and move to California where his girlfriend has her medical practice and is raising her children.

There are a series of dramatic confrontations when his sister, who has defied her cantankerous father, pleads with Gene not to take on the burden of the old man and ruin his life; when the destitute father and son have to pick out a coffin for the mother; and the final episode in which Gene tries once again to rouse in himself some affection for his father and succeeds, but only for a moment.

For it is still not possible for him to “sing” for his father, to understand and be understood, to give the love he so wants to give, and to feel it all will be accepted, and appreciated, by his father, who cannot love.

VTC's production of this award-winning play is directed by Robert Kramsky and features Jonathan Hathaway as Gene Garrison; Jon Mack as his father, Tom; Nancy Groff as his mother; Louise Krieger as his sister; Robyn Manning as the waitress and Nurse Halsey; Michael Kauffman as Dr. Mayberry and Reverend Sam Pell; and Sam Murphy as the porter and the undertaker.

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