Perfect for the holidays, “The Pain and the Itch” is a funny and heartwarming story about a Thanksgiving dinner that goes terribly wrong. The different personality traits in the characters and diverse conversations they have make this play both funny and sentimental, leaving room for something everyone can enjoy.
In the play, Clay and Kelly are a married couple with two children who decide host Thanksgiving dinner at their home this year. Set in a modern home in the Pacific Palisades, the house is decorated with earthy tones, such as forest green and beige, picture frames, a Siddhartha statue in the fireplace and a wooden table that looks like it was freshly chopped off a tree.
The family dynamic at this Thanksgiving dinner is…interesting, to say the least. Clay’s mother (Carol) is a socialist, his brother (Cash) is a Republican, and Cash’s brings his European girlfriend (Kalina) to the mix as well.
Along with the already present political tension, many events lead to utter chaos. Clay insists there is an animal on the roof, Kalina has sword fights with Kayla, Kelly complains that an animal has been biting into her avocados, Clay makes sexual jokes, and Kayla is itching from a rash. Carol even turns on the T.V., accidentally displaying pornography. With the telephone ringing, house alarm going off and baby crying, this Thanksgiving dinner turns into a mess.
However, there is one mysterious character named Mr. Hadid; he mainly oversees the debates that occur in this house. Whenever he speaks, the lights dim, and the room becomes silent. In each conversation, he asks what the possessions cost. By the end of the play, the audience discovers how wise he truly is.
What makes this whole performance so enjoyable is that the cast’s ability to act genuinely and naturally. There’s not a moment in the play when you believe the cast is merely acting; their dedication to their characters is evident.
Throughout “The Pain and the Itch,” difficult pasts and charming secrets are revealed, so be prepared for surprises. Stay tuned until the end of the play where you will learn an extra special surprise about what, or who, was biting into the avocados.
"The Pain and the Itch" is currently playing at the Zephyr Theatre in Los Angeles.