“Do You Know What Meshugge Means?”

She was meshugge,” Gladys, the strong-willed octogenarian played by Elaine May in “The Waverly Gallery,” says lightly about a relative. Then she leans over conspiratorially to her young-adult grandson Daniel, with whom she’s discussing family history, and asks, “Do you know what that word means?”

He tells her twice—louder the second time—that he does, but she hasn’t heard him. “It means kooky, you know: a little nutty,” Gladys explains in this gentle bit of humor that helps to signal that this is a play about a Jewish family.

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