Anthony J. Piccione
Unless you’ve been adopted yourself, it may be difficult to fully understand how it might feel, to have grown up in that situation. Furthermore, it’s highly unlikely that people who haven’t been in that situation are aware of not just the emotional challenges, but also the legal and financial obstacles that can come with trying to find out more about your biological family. However, that’s exactly what The Good Adoptee – one of two solo-shows currently being produced by JMTC Theatre – ultimately triumphs in shining a light on.
Written and directed by Suzanne Bachner – who also directs the current production of Spitting In The Face Of The Devil, also currently playing at the Bridge Theatre – the play is inspired by the real-life story of Bachner’s adoption, and how – as an adult – she went above and beyond to find out who her biological parents are, simply so she could rest assured with that knowledge. Sprinkled with plenty of humorous moments and well-written dialogue, the show gradually proves to be something of an emotional roller coaster, as we delve deeper into Suzanne’s story, with the show ultimately building toward a very poignant climax.
Performing the show is award-winning actress Anna Bridgforth. Ms. Bridgforth’s bio makes clear that she is no stranger to solo shows, having collaborated on similar productions with Bachner, in the past. That shows very clearly in her performance, as she proves to be a charming and charismatic presence throughout the show. I was particularly impressed with her ability to easily change her tone and personality, as she switched from one character to another.
In terms of the production’s technical aspects, the show has a minimalistic set – consisting of two large toy blocks and a prop phone – which do a sufficient job at setting the tone for the show, along with Ms. Bridgforth’s wonderful performance. My one complaint is that, at times, some of the lighting transitions seemed to be unnecessary and out of place. However, this was only a minor issue, and very rarely did it occur during the production.
After the show, the performance received a standing ovation from its sold out crowd, as it deserved. Not only does it raise awareness for the often overlooked issues facing adoptees in the United States, but it also takes action on this issue by raising funds through ticket sales for Access Connecticut, a non-profit organization that works to help adoptees facing specific challenges in the state of Connecticut. As someone who has been raised primarily by my biological mother and my stepfather whom I consider to be my true father, I myself can say that I learned a great deal about the adoption process – and how it might feel to be an adoptee – by seeing this show. If you’d also like to learn and help support a great cause, be sure to come and see this show, if you have the chance!
“The Good Adoptee" – presented by JMTC Theatre – runs at the Bridge Theatre at Shetler Studios from January 13th-21st. For more information, please visit www.jmtcinc.com.