In this fresh and funny “holiday” drama, the Schwartz siblings gather for a Yarzheit – the anniversary of their father’s death.
And like with any distanced relatives, things get awkward and complicated when everyone’s closer.
An Interview with Clare Lunch, Kia in The Last Schwartz
What is The Last Schwartz about?
The Last Schwartz is about complicated family relationships. When you and your siblings are adults with vastly different lives, opinions, and personalities, and your parents have passed away, how do you maintain those relationships? What still ties you together, if anything? When the skeletons in the closet finally come out, can the family survive? And—to top it off—does any of this really matter in the cosmic balance? As with most Theatre B plays, the script raises all of those questions without providing any clear answers.
Tell me about your character, Kia.
I love Kia. Kia is easy to dismiss in the first few scenes as the “dumb blonde” comic relief character, but over the course of the play, she demands more attention than that. I don’t think she’s dumb—she’s just had her own unusual set of life experiences that don’t match up with her current environment, and she has zero self-consciousness asking questions and admitting when she doesn’t understand something. In a play about family, Kia is rootless—a foil to the dysfunctional family because she has no family at all.
I will add that Kia makes a couple of controversial choices in this show. The play casts no judgment on whether those choices are right or wrong, and you as the audience member can choose to disagree with her if you like. But I hope everyone will regard her, with her unique life experiences and dreams, with compassion.
What makes this show fit so well in Theatre B’s repertoire?
The Last Schwartz is a great holiday show for Theatre B because this is the time of year when we’re all reuniting with family we haven’t seen in a long time, possibly since the last holiday season. And at least some awkwardness is inevitable. It can be cathartic to watch that exact scenario play out onstage, with humor and a touch of heartbreak thrown in.
What is your favorite line from the show?
Norma: What’s happened to us? Mama and Papa, they worked so hard to make this a real home. To make us a family. Why aren’t we a real family?
Herb: This is what a real family is, Norma.
Do you relate to any of the characters?
There’s no specific character I identify with strongly in this script, but I still feel connected to the overall themes of family and religion (though not specifically Judaism).
Any standout memories from rehearsals so far?
I still don’t believe you, Jeff.
What is your theatrical background?
Both of my parents are actors/directors, so theatre has always been part of my life. I got my degree in theatre from NDSU in 2015, and this is now my fifth Theatre B show. The other B shows I have been in are The Art of Bad Men (Cordelia), Equivocation (Judith), The Moors (Marjory), and Church and State (Alex). This is my first show as an Ensemble member of Theatre B, and I’m so happy to have found my theatre home with this wonderful group of artists.