THE FAMILY BUSINESS. A new play written, directed and choreographed by Ain Gordon and David Gordon. Lighting designer, Stan Pressner. Sound designer, David Meschter. With Valda Setterfield, Ain Gordon, David Gordon. At the New York Theater Workshop, 79 E. 4th St. Manhattan, through April 16. Seen at Friday evening's preview.
You couldn't find a more authentic, or profoundly felt, family operation in town than this Obie-winning show, which has not only been co-written and directed by choreographer/actor/auteur David Gordon and his son Ain Gordon, but is performed with stunning elasticity by the two along with the Gordons' wife and mother, Valda Setterfield.
David Gordon, mustached, beefy and bedecked in simple hausfrau drag, plays Aunt Annie, a plow-truck of a woman headed into her 80s kicking and kvetching. Widowed, childless and felled by a stroke while nephew Phil is away on business, she heaps all her fears and frustrations on her gay grand-nephew Paul (Ain Gordon), who is being quite literally eaten alive as her caretaker. For Paul, it's just one more reluctant life role: A would-be playwright, Paul carries on the Smith tradition of artists who deferred their calling to earn a living by the monkey wrench.