War vets adapt to life in ‘Strange Snow’
Martha, played by Liz Conrad, makes pancakes for Megs, played by Timothy Thomas, during a dress rehearsal of “Strange Snow” at the Youngstown Playhouse. The play opens Friday and runs weekends through March 9.
By GUY D’ASTOLFO
The Youngstown Playhouse will shake off its midwinter break with the area premiere of the comedy-drama “Strange Snow.”
The play centers on two war buddies who reunite a decade after the Vietnam War, although both are changed men.
Chris Fidram is the director, and the two lead roles — Megs and David — are played, respectively, by Timothy Thomas and Chuck Kettering.
“Megs was a loose cannon during the war, but now he seems to have embraced life, whereas David, once a high school star, has resigned himself to a life of driving trucks and medicating his pain with alcohol,” according to Fidram.
Megs tries to pull David out of his slump, but it’s not easy. He then takes an interest in David’s younger sister, Martha, who is determined to keep herself detached from intimacy.
Liz Conrad plays the role of Martha.
The play, which is set in a blue-collar town in the ’80s, hits home for Fidram.
“It reminds me of people I knew growing up in Youngstown,” he said. “These were the guys who came from hard-working middle-class families, the type of guys our country sent to fight wars. They were honorable and brave, but they returned home forever changed. Respect must be paid to these men and women for their sacrifice. I don’t think nearly enough is done to help our veterans readjust to life once they return home.”
Fidram has a hard time categorizing “Strange Snow.”
“It’s tough for me to make that distinction between what is comedy and what is drama,” he said. “‘Strange Snow’ is a play about life. The comedies I was raised on, such as ‘M*ASH’ and ‘All In the Family,’ were laugh-out-loud hilarious. But they also had moments that touched your heart and made you feel. These are my favorite kinds of plays to direct, because they take the audience full circle.
“By the end [of ‘Strange Snow’], you feel like you really know who these characters are. For me, it’s really a play about choosing the happiness in life we deserve. I can’t imagine a more uplifting message than that.”