There is nothing subtle about Christopher Ashley’s allegorical play about the world of squirrels.
That’s right -- squirrels!
The playwright takes us to the habitat of a family of gray squirrels who live comfortably on their stash of acorns, guarded over by Scurius, their aging patriarch, cleverly portrayed by Vince Petronio.
Director Mark Peckham, back on the local scene after a two-year pandemic hiatus, has given them tails and directed them to act like squirrels.
Everything seems to be going pretty well until a fox squirrel appears, looking for nuts to feed his flock.
Then another squirrel shows up to stir up trouble between and among the two groups, giving us the main theme of the battles between the haves and the have nots.
And then there is the entire ecosystem and what is happening to it.
And let us be reminded that “All Squirrels Matter!”
The 90-minute, one-act play deals with a variety of social issues that are all too familiar to we humans. Some are subtle. Others are in your face.
Vowing that the lower-class fox squirrels will “Never get my nuts,” Scurius keeps their whereabouts hidden as he becomes older and suffers from squirrel Alzheimer’s disease.
There is conflict. The ugly state of prejudice takes root.
Greed takes over the “We’re all in this together” philosophy.
While the play is filled with humor, the underlying allegory emerges until we and the squirrels realize it may be too late.
The acting and directing are first-rate, (Joe Henderson shines in dual roles) and you will leave the theatre with much to think about (maybe too much) and a greater knowledge of squirrels.
“The Squirrels” is at Burbage Theatre in Pawtucket through May 15. Call 484-0355 for reservations
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