Pick up a bowl owned by your grandmother and, bam, you are back in her kitchen, watching her cook. A locket, passed down through generations, meaningful, because it was owned by a mother, grandmother and, perhaps great-grandmother; looking at it triggers memories of a loved one wearing it. Memories. Mementos. Memories and mementos. They are fused together. Now imagine those precious things are lost, the memories of the person are not gone, of course, but the tangible reminder of that memory is. Have you ever been in a situation where you lost something precious to you? Finding that item creates a sense of joy and a connection with something greater.
Written by Matthew Carlin, A Little Piece of Heaven is a charming, heart-warming play, set in a small-town thrift shop appropriately named, “A Little Piece of Heaven.” It is owned by Henry and Elizabeth, a loving, but unusual couple. Customers come into the shop to eat the wonderful cookies and casually browse the curiosities; others come in searching for. . . something. Some fortunate patrons leave with a precious item, once lost and now, somehow, found.
Michael, a biker stranded in town when his motorcycle breaks down, wanders into the shop and, seemingly by chance, becomes an employee. For several years, Michael has been running from his past, seeking something, but unaware of what that “something” might be. On his first day, he meets Lily, an 87-year-old woman who has been coming to the shop since its opening. She is strong-willed and openly speaks her mind. She, too, is searching for something. Through several encounters, Michael and Lily forge an unlikely relationship, tentative at first, growing into one of mutual respect and caring.
Although the play takes place in a thrift shop, full of curiosities, antiques, and just plain stuff, such tangible things are not all that the little store offers those who enter. Townspeople, employees, and customers find what they need there, whether it be an old record, a new relationship, or just one of those heavenly cookies. And overseeing it all, Elizabeth and Henry seem to know, somewhat mysteriously, just what everyone needs.
The Jewish Federation’s JFed Players chose this as its Fall 2022 production because of its warmth, humor, and, mostly, its heart. We can all relate to the story of losing something precious to us and, when miraculously found, we feel a sense of joy… In this time of uncertainty and, sometimes fear, our memories can ground us and bring us peace. Relationships can also bring solace and comfort. A Little Piece of Heaven has plenty of both.
The Jewish Federation’s JFed Players are pleased to present A Little Piece of Heaven, directed by John Carlton and Lori McKenna, opening on September 10, 2022, at Porticos Art Space in Pasadena. Funny and poignant, A Little Piece of Heaven will leave you feeling a little happier, a little more sentimental, a little more positive, and full of hope.
Lori McKenna is a contributing writer to Jlife Magazine.