“It’s a show about learning how to talk to teach other without yelling.” — Jim “Boomer” Kelly, director

“We haven’t done a show like this for a long time,” said Director Jim “Boomer” Kelly of MCT’s latest production. “Over the River and Through the Woods” will take the stage this weekend — Friday and Saturday, Feb. 16-17.

By that he means one with a theme that younger folks can relate to. The play, written by Joe DiPietro in 1998, focuses on a young man’s efforts to leave the mandatory Sunday dinner sphere of BOTH sets of grandparents. He’s landed a dream job across the country, but neither the maternal nor paternal grandparents will let him go without a fight.

“There’s funny moments and then moments where you want to go home and call your mom and dad and tell them you love them,” said Kelly.

Alex Rickert, 25, brings the youthful energy to the stage as Nick. He’s surrounded by mature and experienced local talent — Arnie Steinmetz as Frank, Marilyn Tempest as Aida, Mike Chaplin as Nunzio and Marianne Benvenuti as Emma. Zulma Jimenez makes an appearance as Caitlin O’Hare — the “bait” the grands dangle to get Nick to stay.

“The audience quickly learns that this is a family that cares a lot about eachother, but they’ve been together so long, there’s a little bickering,” Rickert said. “It ends up being hilarious. You see a bit of your own family in the characters on stage.”

This is only Rickert’s second time on stage at Marathon Community Theatre. He said he’s absorbing the life lessons imparted with the dialogue and the stagecraft from the rest of the cast.

“It’s such a learning experience. I am learning lots from different people with different talents,” Rickert said. “This is my first time doing anything with a significant speaking role. It’s been a lot of fun.”

This is another staged reading — lacking a full set but with enough movement to lend it drama — similar to the recent MCT production of “Rumors.” Next up at the theater will be the One Weekend Only set for March 24-25. Readings are planned for both April and May, “Tah Dance” is set for June, and the kids summer theater program will happen in July.

Curtain for “Over the River and Through the Woods” is at 8 p.m. Tickets are $12.

Marilyn Tempest, left, Arnie Steinmetz, Alex Rickert, Mike Chaplin, Marianne Benvenuti and Zulma Jimenez take the stage this weekend. LARRY BENVENUTI/Contributed


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Sara Matthis thinks community journalism is important, but not serious; likes weird and wonderful children (she has two); and occasionally tortures herself with sprint-distance triathlons, but only if she has a good chance of beating her sister.