One of the characters in “Do Not Go Gentle” is no longer alive, but don’t think that makes the play a downer.

“When people hear it is a play about a dead woman, they may assume it will be depressing, but it is actually a very uplifting story,” said Fran Sillau, executive director of the Circle Theatre, where the show premieres Friday. “It is a beautiful play which has as many, if not more, elements of comedy as it does drama. It deals with situations we all have faced, or will face, at some point.”

The play, by Suzan Zeder, is about Grandma Lillian (Sue Mouttet) and her family. The audience can see her onstage, but her loved ones cannot. The story is set in 1991 at the beginning of Operation Desert Storm, when Grandma’s relatives gather at her house to go through her possessions following her death. Her son, Windsor (Patrick Brusnahan) comes from overseas with his daughter Kelly (Desia Griffin) to settle his mother’s affairs.

Windsor has been estranged from his mother since he joined the military against her wishes, but Kelly had a special bond with Lillian nevertheless. With other family members, they learn things about Lillian they had never known, including the mystery behind wild murals found throughout her house.

Sillau said “Do Not Go Gentle” illustrates that age doesn’t matter when it comes to friendship. In addition, it has a compelling message about the importance of staying in touch with loved ones, and really getting to know them, he said.

It also examines both sides to war and the military, a divisive topic in many families. Kat Cover is the director.

The show runs through June 15 at the theater’s home in Hanscom Park United Methodist Church.

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Betsie covers a little bit of everything for The World-Herald's Living section, including theater, religion and anything else that might need attention. Phone: 402-444-1267.

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