I grew up in a small great lakes town with a population just about to crack 2000 souls when I left. I knew all my aunts and uncles – even the ones who moved “all the way” to the other side of town. Every second Sunday of the month, without fail, my father’s six siblings would gather in one of their houses for a meal and a visit – until the later years when the “cousin count” was so high that only the aunts and uncles were allowed. To this day, the living relatives still gather – to solve the problems of the world over a pot luck lunch, some coffee and Snickers bar salad. I am grateful for many blessings of my family and especially that even with their differences, they all love and respect one another when they gather together.
In this play, Joe DiPietro gives us the perfect, imperfect family. Through his hilarity, we can consider our own sense of place, our loyalties to location, commitment to culture and hopes for our legacy and lineage. In the mobility of North American culture, Tengo famiglia invites us to examine our roots, whether we love em’ or lump em’. The patriarchs and matriarchs of Nick’s world allow us to laugh at ourselves in another skin and call us to savour the tastes and conversations that shape who we are. Enjoy the feast!