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'Paradise Lost': Odets's Family Far From Eden
[FINAL Edition]
The Washington Post - Washington, D.C.
Author: Olszewski, Tricia
Date: Nov 25, 2004
Start Page: C.01
Section: STYLE

The many friends and family members -- 22 roles, here filled by 18 actors -- who pass through the household convey their misery in different ways: Clara Gordon (Martha Karl), for example, is the neurotic matriarch, playfully calling people "lunatic" and prodding them to have some fruit in between worries about her family's financial affairs; her husband, handbag designer Leo Gordon (Norman Aronovic), is one of the walking wounded, a gentle, philosophical sort whose effort to remain cautiously optimistic about his struggling business abruptly gives way to despondency; family friend Gus (Joe Cronin) is the most comic yet heartbreaking character of all, with a constant smile and too-cheerful anecdotes that suggest delusion. While Leo's eventual despair is unexpected, it's no surprise when Gus admits that his approach to life is "to turn on the radio instead of the gas."

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