Brooklyn may be New York City’s most protean borough. Once a byword for street-smart authenticity and home of the tough-sounding dialect known as “Brooklynese,” today multifaceted Brooklyn is more often employed as shorthand for hipster. In Brooklyn Boy, Pulitzer Prize–winning playwright Donald Margulies pits these dueling cultural identities against one another through the experiences of Eric Weiss, an acclaimed author who returns to Brooklyn after publishing an autobiographical book about growing up there. Over the course of the action, Weiss — who will be played by Ed Giron in DIJO’s upcoming production at the Plaza Playhouse Theater in Carpinteria — gets pulled in many different directions. In some scenes he’s meeting with the Hollywood creative team that’s working to bring his story to television, while in others he’s visiting his cantankerous father in the hospital or talking to his best friend from high school.
For DIJO producer and veteran actor Jerry Oshinsky, Brooklyn Boy is also a homecoming of sorts, as he graduated from Brooklyn College before going on to attend Columbia Law School in far-off Morningside Heights. Like any good Brooklyn boy, Oshinsky can rattle off a litany of great Brooklynites, from Barbra Streisand to Woody Allen, but in explaining this play, he makes it clear that the show is about more than nostalgia. “It’s set in Brooklyn, but it’s about everywhere,” he says. “Eric’s father is not my father; he’s everybody’s father.”
William Waxman will direct the show, which runs January 8-18. The Plaza Playhouse Theater, which has recently upgraded its technical facilities to make way for even more live theater, has proved to be an excellent venue for the kind of regional theater at which DIJO excels. There’s real passion in this work, as each of the participants embraces the opportunity to go deeper into the plays that they love. Asked what drew him to this particular script, Oshinsky goes beyond the coincidence of common origins to praise the writing, saying, “It’s lyrical — I fell in love with the music of the language, and now I walk around with it in my head.”
For tickets and information, visit plazatheatercarpinteria.com.