SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Lifestyle

January 2, 2014

Knitting Nonie's story

One-man show centers on family's 'firecracker' matriarch

Some solo performers just play themselves. But in “Firecracker Bye Bye,” his one-man show at Salem Theatre Company, Seth Lepore brings a whole cast of characters to life.

“I’m going back and forth between telling the audience stories of what happened, and then playing my father, my grandmother, myself, my wife and my aunt,” said Lepore, who is staging his work tonight, tomorrow and Saturday night.

The play centers on his grandmother, Nonie — the “firecracker” in the play’s title — who died in April 2012 at age 95 and to whom he is affectionately saying “bye.”

“She was the matriarch of the family; she was the center of everyone’s universe,” Lepore said.

She also had a unique and vivid personality, which was evident in almost everything she said and did.

“She didn’t edit a word. She said whatever was on her mind,” Lepore said. “Her comedic timing was brilliant, although she wasn’t trying to be funny.”

The play started as a memoir, but Lepore found himself using the material on stage at theater festivals. He turned it into a full-length performance after working with director Linda McInerney.

There are scenes where he is talking to his grandmother or parents on the phone that recall times when he lived in San Francisco or Colorado.

In other scenes, when they are together, Nonie enjoys telling people what she thinks about how they look.

“There was always something we were wearing, or our hair or face was off,” Lepore said. “She was commenting on our physical appearance all the time. I’m a punk-rock kid, so I always looked weird, so I would make it worse to mess with her.”

Lepore’s wife, Sharon Esdale, tended to take Nonie’s criticisms and suggestions more seriously.

“There’s a whole scene with Sharon, about how she should wear makeup, and I’m stuck with them in this situation,” Lepore said.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Lifestyle
  • North Shore religion calendar Saturday, April 19 Easter Bunny Breakfast & Egg Hunt, 10 a.m. to noon, Northshore Unitarian Universalist Church, 323 Locust St., Danvers. The youth groups of Northshore and Beverly Unitarian Universalist churches will hold an Easter breakfast and egg

    April 19, 2014

  • North Shore religion news in brief The Rev. Marya DeCarlen has been named the new, full-time priest in charge at All Saints Episcopal Church of the North Shore in Danvers. DeCarlen's ministry with the parish begins Sunday, April 27. Her appointment comes after the church's yearlong in

    April 19, 2014

  • Dear Abby: Teenage girl’s boyish figure is often deceiving to others Dear Abby: I'm a 14-year-old girl with a problem. Because of my buzzed short hair, slim hips and flat chest, I frequently get mistaken for a boy. It really bothers me because, despite my haircut and body shape, I have a feminine face and I wear women

    April 19, 2014

  • This weekend's Best Bets Best Bets for Saturday and Sunday, April 19 and 20

    Looking for something to do this weekend? Here are The Salem News' Best Bets:

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • Vet Connection: Is it OK to give a dog a bone? We have all seen the cartoons and commercials depicting dogs burying bones and stashing them away for later. Unfortunately, most pet owners are completely unaware of the significant risks and problems that are associated with feeding dogs these treat

    April 18, 2014

  • Ask Dog Lady: Why is my dog fascinated with burying things? Dear Dog Lady, My dog came across a dead cat at the park and proceeded to bury the cat with surrounding leaves by using her nose and pushing the leaves over the dead cat. Two days later, we went back to the park, and she found the dead cat again and

    April 18, 2014

  • ed Ipswich author to share drawing techniques Most of Ed Emberley's 80 children's books, 20 of which are still in print, have one goal in mind. "Showing the kids you can draw; everybody can draw something," he said. "They get encouragement from working with the simplest thing." Emberley will giv

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • holtenhouse Quick pick 'Voices From the Back Stairs' Jennifer Pustz of Historic New England presents "Voices From the Back Stairs" tomorrow at 2, at the Judge Samuel Holten House, 171 Holten St., Danvers. In her presentation, Pustz explores domestic service in 19th- and 20

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Dear Abby: Assistant’s gruff attitude needs to be smoothed out Dear Abby: How do I deal with an assistant who keeps calling me a "brown-noser"? She did it again yesterday at a staff meeting in front of my boss and another assistant. It was the third time she has said it. She is gruff and rude, and several people

    April 18, 2014

  • Friday's Best Bets Best Bets for Friday, April 18

    Looking for something to do today? Here are The Salem News' Best Bets:

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

NDN Video
Comments Tracker