The new show at the B Street Theater comes on like a comedy. Arthur Grosberg, a balding guy near retirement, and his 39-year-old daughter Jeannie, are going to an orphanage in China. She’s single, and she’s there to adopt a baby girl.
Playwright Daniel Goldfarb knows how to locate the funnybone. Much of the humor comes in a Jewish family context. But Goldfarb’s also writing about life’s transitions. Like meeting your prospective mother-in-law, and realizing that she doesn’t approve of the marriage. Or emigrating to a new land, and learning a different language.
This play is a special opportunity for the actors, because the story unfolds in two eras, each with a completely different feel. The first half is set in 1961, when the family is poor, and the conversation runs to Siberia and Stalin. The second half is contemporary, showing us a now affluent family with digital gear, adopting a child halfway around the world. It’s a domestic comedy, and yet also a reflection of changing times – which makes “Sarah, Sarah” a thoughtful option in a summer dominated by lighter entertainment.
"Sarah, Sarah" plays at the B Street Theatre through August 12th