Hudson Stage Co.’s 4000 Miles is a journey not to be missed

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Derek Kademian and Emily Wolfrum

“Remember to love your par­ents…We are so busy growing up, we often forget they are also growing old.”

This idea resonates in Amy Herzog’s play 4000 Miles which being performed by the Hudson Stage Company at the Woodward Hall Theater on Pace’s Briarcliff campus this month.

Led by director Dan Fos­ter, 4000 Miles tells the story of young adult Leo (Jacob Perkins) who leaves his home in St. Paul to live with his hearing-impaired grandmother (Alice Cannon) in her West Village apartment.

Following the traumatic loss of his best friend, Leo struggles to discover himself and atone for his past wrongdoings. Meanwhile, his grandmother Vera copes with her own fear of losing her grand­son, as he grows less dependent on her. Both stories show the tri­als and tribulations of life and its stages with frequent comedic re­lief from Cannon.

Cannon definitely stood out throughout the play with her au­thentic New York City accent and her snappy, judgmental remarks. Anyone who was brought up in the tri-state area can attest to the authenticity of her character or knows someone just like her.

But her importance is more than meets the eye.

While the play seems to cen­ter on Leo, with the only other visible characters serving as his romantic interests, Cannon steals the show through her portrayal of Vera, easily becoming the most sympathetic character in the play.

Even her apparent flaws be­come endearing. This is seen dur­ing Perkins’ darkened aside in which he discusses the details of his best friend’s death. Cannon’s character waits until the end of his soliloquy to reveal that her hearing aid was not in and that she had only heard pieces of his pained monologue.

As 4000 Miles progresses, so too does the age group that is highlighted. The characters and the life lessons age with the development of the play, ending with Vera struggling to hold on to her fleeing grandson and an immature Leo finally becoming more independent and coping with his problems.

Leo’s character develops dra­matically. From unemployed and unable to bring himself to attend his best friend’s funeral, Leo’s character ends the play with a stable job in the Rockies and pre­paring a eulogy.

The archetypes displayed in the play are highly tangible. Leo’s long-time girlfriend Becca is the characteristic headstrong, intel­ligent go-getter. The unraveling of their relationship as she moves forward with her education and he remains stuck in his depres­sion and lack of ambition, is re­latable to many college students.

4000 Miles is a story for adults of all ages, though some of the script content can be very crude and suggestive. Audience mem­bers should bear this in mind, but also take it with a grain of salt. The production is raw and honest, and any seemingly inappropriate dialogue serves to promote the story’s authenticity.

This opportunity to see Time magazine’s deemed ‘Best Play of the Season’ is one that should not be missed. From the cozy stage set, relatable characters, and fa­miliar setting, 4000 Miles hits home for all viewers, especially those in the Pace community and Westchester area. Future perfor­mances will be held Nov. 8, 9, 10, 15, and 16.