LATHAM – Family dynamics are usually a big part of Daniel Marguiles’ work, and while that often results in some pretty uncomfortable and disheartening — as well as entertaining — interactions, within the drama there’s always a little comedy.
That seems to be the case in “Long Lost,” Marguiles’ play from 2015 being staged by Curtain Call Theatre and opening up Thursday night (April 21) at 7:30.
“People aren’t going to be walking out of the theater laughing hysterically, and that’s not the point of the show,” said Ryan Fuchs, who plays a young man somewhat estranged from his family. “But there are moments that people can relate to, and there is comedy in some of those moments. It’s a drama, but in any kind of family situation, you’re going to have some comedy.”
The story centers around a long-overdue reunion between two brothers. Joining Fuchs on stage are Kris Anderson, Maryhelen Lounello and David Nathanielsz. Curtain Call founder and artistic director Carol Max is directing the show. Marguiles won a Pulitzer Prize for Drama for his 2000 play, “Dinner with Friends,” while two of his other works, “Sight Unseen” and “Collected Stories” were finalists for the Pulitzer. When he isn’t writing plays, Marguiles is an adjunct professor at Yale where he teaches English and Theater and Performance Studies.
Fuchs was familiar with some of Marguiles’ works, but not “Long Lost.”
“I have never seen the play, but somebody sent me the script and encouraged me to show up for the audition,” said Fuchs. “I read the script and found it interesting, even though the characters are not really that super likable. But they are characters that people can relate to and identify with. That’s what made the show interesting to me, the realism about it, and despite the fact that the people aren’t super sympathetic, his work has quite the reputation, so I went ahead and auditioned.”
Max echoed Fuchs’ summation of Marguiles’ work.
“He really captures family relationships that speak to audiences,” said Max, who also staged “Dinner with Friends” at Curtain Call in 2017. “There’s a little of my own family in this play, so I was drawn to directing it. It’s a quality play by a quality playwright. People will recognize the issues and themes that so many of us understand.”
A native of Washington, Fuchs is a relative newcomer to the Capital Region. Most recently he performed at Capital Repertory Theatre in Albany in “Fly,” earlier this year, and back in October of 2021 he was on the stage at the Schenectady Light Opera Company stage in “Ordinary Days.”
“I moved to the Capital Region in 2018 and was just about to get involved in some theater projects and the pandemic hit,” said Fuchs, who studied music at Georgetown University. “I had formed my own start-up based in Cleveland, doing market research technology, and we’re all working remotely. I had taken a little hiatus from the performing arts to focus on my career a little bit. Now that I’ve started my own business and work remotely, I have some flexibility and have been anxious to get back into the swing of things on the stage.”
Working at Curtain Call with Max as director is a brand new experience for Fuchs.
“It’s always interesting when you work with a new director because you’re not sure what to expect,” said Fuchs. “You have to learn their style, and I really appreciate Carol because she has a clear vision for the show. You can tell she has spent a lot of time with the script. We’ll be at rehearsal and she’ll say, ‘I was reading the script last night,’ and that’s happened multiple times.
“She drives us to think more about the internal lives of our character,” added Fuchs. “We can look into the different angles we can take playing them, and it’s been very fruitful.”
Fuchs’ fellow cast members were also new to him.
“Working with all the theater companies I have so far, I know it’s a relatively small community and most people are connected to somebody somehow,” said Fuchs. “But this is my first time working with this cast, and it has been a joy to work with them. I’m having fun.”
Fuchs character is Jeremy, a Brown University student who enjoys his well-to-do family and the benefits that go along with it. Nathanielsz plays his father David, a successful Wall Street consultant, and Lounello is his wife Molly, an enthusiastic philanthropist. Anderson plays Billy, the older brother and a bit of a non-conformist who was often at odds with his father.
The set was designed by Andy Nice, while Beth Ruman is the costume designer.
WHERE: Curtain Call Theatre, 1 Jeanne Jugan Lane, Latham
WHEN: Opens today and runs through May 15; performance times are 7:30 p.m. Thursdays, 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturday, and 3 p.m. Sundays
HOW MUCH: $30
MORE INFO: Visit www.curtaincalltheatre.com or call (518) 877-7529