The Riant Book Club

THE PLACE TO MEET, MINGLE, DISH & DISCUSS! Once a month the Riant Book Club will converge at a fabulous restaurant in Manhattan and talk about 2 plays chosen from The Best Plays From The Strawberry One-Act Festival: Volume One, Two or Three. There is NO FEE to belong to the Club. Just read the selected plays for the day, rsvp to reserve your seat at the restaurant and then show up. Everyone pays for their own meals and/or drinks. So bring your business cards and dress to impress!

Friday, September 29, 2006

The Riant Book at the Good Restaurant

On Wednesday, September 27th the
Riant Book Club went to the GOOD RESTAURANT at 89 Greenwich Avenue. First of all I want to say they need to change the name of the restaurant from GOOD to GREAT!, because the food was DELICIOUS!!!! I loved the presentation. Every dish was like a work of art. I wish I had pictures to show you, but you can always check out their website at

Karen Page, host of Riant! Riant! Arts & Entertainment was there sporting a new hairstyle and we had a new member join us, Alicia Zadrozany, who works as an editor of children's books at Reader's Digest. Michael Casano, the playwright of HIDDEN IN THE PAST was on hand to sign books and discuss his play. (Photo of Karen Page and Alicia Zadrozany)

It was fascinating to learn that his play was inspired by his grandmother, who migrated to the U.S. when she was a child with her father. That prompted all of us to share stories about our past and relatives who also migrated to the U.S.

HIDDEN IN THE PAST, Jessica wants to interview her grandmother Tessie for her class assignment. Tessie is reluctant at first, but finally reveals that when she was 14 her father wanted to come to the U.S., but her mother didn't want to leave Italy. So she told him to take the youngest child, Tessie, because she wouldn't care. Tessie recalls the day they left no one came to see them off at the pier. Her father told her not to think about the rest of the family anymore. It was as if they were dead. Looking back it was a very traumatic experience in Tessie's life. Jessica gets the feeling that her grandmother didn't really want to go to America, but she wasn't given a choice. Back in those days, you didn't ask questions. Her father said, "We are going to America." So that's what they did. There was no looking back.

It's apparent that Tessie misses her mother, her brother and Italy? But she can't bring herself to say the words. You also get a sense that Tessie still holds some resentment towards her mother and brother for not deciding to come to America with them. The sad thing is that it was a very difficult transition for Tessie -- learning a new language and making new friends in a strange land, but her father was stern. He wanted to make something of himself in America, so he would simply tell her to be strong and be an American!

It's powerful. We can all relate to the scarifices people make to follow their dreams and sometimes the secrets that are hidden in the past that motivate them to make such a journey often leaves scars that are incurred at a great price. (Photo: Michael Casano, Sharon Zaslaw & Van Dirk Fisher)

Nick Vigorito, Jr.
, playwright of THE SQUEEGEE MAN, wasn't able to join us, because he's preparing for a journey of his own to LA, but that didn't stop us from discussing his play. THE SQUEEGEE MAN truly stirred some angry emotions in Sharon Zaslaw, who said she's had her own experiences with Squeegee men while sitting in her car with her children at a red stop light.

THE SQUEEGEE MAN, Jennifer, a journalist, attempts to interview the Squeegee man for an article she's writing for her newspaper. The Squeegee man is also reluctant, but Jennifer is persistent. She said she saw him step between a gun man who stepped out of a car and tried to rob a man. The gun man shot at him when he refused to move and the Squeegee man put his hand up to catch a bullet that would have hit a woman who was crossing the street with her baby, unbeknownst to what was happening. Luckily, no one was harmed. The gun man, stunned that the bullets seemed to pass through the Squeegee man without harming him, jumped into his car and sped away. The man who was about to be robbed simply ran away.

Jennifer's question to the Sqeegee man is how did he do that? But more importantly, she wants to know if he's God and if He is then where was He when she was a child and her father abandon her and her mother? And if He is God, then how could He let her mother commit suicide and leave her all alone?

The Squeegee man never says that He is God, but he tells her that we all have free will. That he tried several times to stop her mother from doing wrong, but she made her own choice. And that Jennifer was never alone. She was placed with a very good family who treated her very well. Jennifer even admitted that the woman who adopted her was like her guardian angel, the best!

THE SQEEGEE MAN is an amazing play that asks the question, "What If God Was One Of Us?" We all have incidents that we could probably contribute to some act of grace from a higher being. And we all have "free will" to chose what path we will take in life. Sometimes the paths we have chosen in life may bring us grief, sometimes joy.
Do you have anything you would like to share with us on decisions you have made in your life and how they have effected you? Have any of you ever felt like you've been touched by an angel? If so please share it with us.

(Photo: Our Host Luciano joins us for a picture. He's sitting next to Alicia, center. Photo #2: Out waiter Philip in blue left next to Karen.)

Our next RIANT BOOK CLUB event will be on October 25th from 6pm - 8:30 p.m. at the Cuba Restaurant, 200 Eight Avenue, NYC.
To RSVP: Call 646-623-3488 or email us at

The plays that will be discussed are:

Requiem For A Life by Tony Macy-Perez. A very modern anglicized son, who has been estranged from his traditional old world father, who was born in Cuba, has to spend one night with him when he returns home for his mother's funeral.

Fun On The Bayou by Vivian Neuwirth. If you could turn back time where would you go and what would you do? A woman finds the strength to go on with her life after the death of her father.

Both playwrights will be in attendance to discuss their plays and sign books. The plays are in The Best Plays From The Strawberry One-Act Festival: Volume Three, and can be purchased online at,, or at the online store at

The first 50 people to make reservations will receive a special gift when they attend the event.


Post a Comment

<< Home