Our Lady of Queens, a new production by writer Joseph Beck, will be premiered on Sunday January 19, 2020 at the Cinema Arts Centre, located at 423 Park Ave in Huntington, NY starting at 4 pm; with a Q&A session to follow.
Starring the world renowned Austin Pendleton and directed by trailblazing director Elizabeth Falk, Our Lady of Queens tells the tragic love story of James and Lee; a charming and smart (still very much in love) Irish Catholic elderly couple living with the reality of Lee’s Dementia diagnosis who call their three adult children home to their apartment in Queens, NY for a special birthday party.
The family all converge together for the occasion; James (played by Pendleton), in his late seventies, who has been staying close to his terminally ill wife, Lee, who is suffering from advanced Dementia, their oldest son James, Jr., a newspaper reporter who is single and fighting the same demons of alcoholism as his father, Marty, the middle child and a newly religious married man, his jealous and self important wife Susan and their children, who have distanced themselves from the family and Maria, the youngest and a professor at a college who has become the nation’s Poet Laureate. Jill Callahan, their long time Catholic Charities day nurse, also plays an important role in the story. Sometimes funny, other times sweet and sentimental and complete with a fist fight and irreverent conversations, Our Lady of Queens is a close look at the family dynamic and how personal feelings may change but the strongest bond -the bond of family- will always remain the same.
Author Joe Beck said, “Our heroes are not young and beautiful with the fate of the planet in their strong, capable hands. No, our heroes are tired and faced with a far important task than saving the planet-they have to talk to each other-really connect and hold hands, take their pills and start a long, tender goodbye.”
Many issues and themes arise throughout; after battling with cheating and alcoholism throughout their relationship, James is determined to be there for his wife and family in their time of need; James Jr has been falling deeper into self medicating to try and deal with the deterioration of his mother; Maria struggles to cope with her new found fame and her own alcohol addiction, and Marty and Susan are having serious marital problems.
Only one thing brings them all together these days – and that’s the love of Lee and the love of their family. They are reminded that time is precious and nothing is forever. The only guarantee in life is that nothing in life is guaranteed. Love hard while you can.
Austin Pendleton remarked, “Our Lady of Queens, by Joseph Beck, is a play that deals with a family in which the wife of the husband, also the mother of the children, has been stricken by dementia. This of course is a problem that is now being realized horrifically all over this country, and the world. It’s been a problem of course since the beginning of time, but now people have a name for it and can track the symptoms of it. Our Lady of Queens meets this head on, and dramatizes it with immediacy, force, tenderness, total reality, and fine, tough love. I think it’s a play that will speak overwhelmingly to many, many people, and, like all really fine plays, not only startle them but, in that paradoxical way that fine plays have always done, bring them comfort, and a feeling that they are not alone”.
Tickets available now at www.cinemartscentre.org – CAC members are $25 and public tickets are $30.