By Tiago Zielske
The Williamston Post
When Ruth learns a revealing secret about the family’s ancestors from her grandmother on her deathbed, she is compelled to tell this story to the rest of the family. It is revealed to the Nowaks that their ancestors were not Catholic, but actually Jewish, the family is immediately shaken. The family matriarch, Clara, is brought to tears. The family doesn’t know how to react to the sudden change in faith. The family fights with one another about what to do, but by the end of the play the family embraces their newly discovered change in faith and embrace one another.
“Miracle on South Division Street” sounds a lot like most family gatherings during the holiday season. That’s what director Rob Roznowski wants audiences to take away from this play.
“This family is like theirs, it’s just like the holidays where there is tension and there is fighting and there is love,” said Roznowski.
Based on a true story, it is a story that questions a family’s faith when told that what they have believed in their whole life is actually all a lie.
“This play is a perfect example of what Williamston Theatre does really well,” says Roznowski, “which are shows that are entertaining and also moving and also really simple and sweet and yet profound.”
Actress Emily Sutton-Smith, who plays Ruth, found this character interesting to play.
“When there are characters that are struggling with something, I find those more fun to play, more interesting to play,” said Sutton-Smith, “I like the dynamic of the family in the play itself, I think it’s very sweet, it’s heartfelt, it’s touching, there’s a sense of realism about the dynamic between the relationships between the siblings and with the mom.”
Sutton-Smith felt a personal connection while playing Ruth. She is from the East Coast, making her family far away from her.
“It allows me to sort of have (her family) very present, my mom passed away in 2002, and I have a really nice onstage relationship and offstage too with Ruth Crawford, who plays the mother in the play, and their relationship is a little prickly and it’s a challenge to both of them that they reconcile at the end and there’s something very healing about that for me personally every time it happens as well as for the characters.”
The Williamston Theatre wants “Miracle on South Division Street” to be a heartfelt story that will reach out to all the families that go out to see it.
The Williamston Theatre will be showing “Miracle on South Division Street” from Nov. 28 to Dec. 28.