Two reviews of movies of particular interest to Elderbloggers appeared recently. Millie Garfield wrote about the pleasure of watching 78 year old, Joan Plowright in "Mrs. Palfrey at the Claremont." I join her in relating to a film star with the courage to wear low-heeled shoes! The story revolves around Plowright's life-change and adjustment as she moves to a retirement hotel in London. Millie, who knows about this sort of move, commented, "Unfortunately they don't make enough movies like this anymore."
Susan Harris, guest blogging at Time Goes By covers many bases in considering another movie,"The Boynton Beach Bereavement Club." Generally she found it without ageist stereotypes and enjoyable as comedy. Please read her rewiew itself. I vote for Susan to do this regularly, at TGB or her own blog, Takoma Gardener (that's Takoma Park, suburb near Washington, D.C.).
Living in the Big Apple, I gravitate toward live theatre--off-Broadway, off-off Broadway, the more affordable options. In August, Ron and I watched a charming performance of "Evensong." Mary Gage, a playwright who had plays produced in Australia, shifted to college administration on coming to the states. This is her first American play.,
Based on interviews with older people in near Bay City, Michigan, Evensong was unusual for NYC, hub of youth culture. The actors, one was 90 (!) play women and men from 80 to 101. Music added to the flow of their tales. Simple choreography, resembling musical chairs, relieved them from sitting and added needed variety. We enjoyed it for its window on an active future for ourselves. It would be a pefect vehicle for the Senior Theatre League to promote to its members.
This is June Bingham, playwright. Look closely at my fuzzy photo from the talk-back for her first play, "Asylum, the strange case of Mary Lincoln." In the background is a portrait of Lincoln and a young son. Several of these were used very effectively at the back of the set. June Bingham is 87. Described in publicity as a "musical," I tell my friends it is a play with music. Carmel Owen, the composer, is a much younger parttime fundraiser Bingham met in a workshop.
We enjoyed the play and most of the music. Carolann Page, sang beautifully as the 56 year old Mary Lincoln, 20 years after her husband's death. She looked worn and burdened, came to life as she plotted her release from a mental hospital. The plot was based on the successful effort by Lincoln's son to have his mother declared insane. We see her as she plots to return to the outside and retrieve her dignity.
The cast was largely over 50 which is unusual for New York theatre. This production was far off Broadway at the York Theatre Company dedicated to producing new musicals and bringing back well-loved shows from the past. (A few years ago, Allan Knee's "Little Women" began here. Lovely show before its music was changed and it became a syrupy Broadway production.) Closes October 1.
This week we went to an on-Broadway production-- discounted preview tickets to see Philip Bosco in "Heartbreak House." Written mid-career by G.B. Shaw in 1917, my first thought when the curtain opened was, "I see why many companies are re-staging classical opera and theatre in modernized ways." It needed help past its fustiness. Bosco was appropriately blustery but his voice went in and out of hearing range. That was a problem with Swoosie Kurtz and a few others. Byron Jennings, one of the younger players, was excellent, and seemed genuinely engaged in his role.
Last year I saw an hilarious production of Ibsen's "Hedda Gabler" produced with robots by Les Freres Corbusier a young, impudent company. You can read a review here. My particular favorite last season,"What Then," by Rinnie Groff, was the work of another under-40 group, Clubbed Thumb.
It is hard to draw conclusions from the above. But I still am drawn to seeing reflections of myself in older performers and/or situations relevant to life over 60. Then I have to ask myself: if i'm less interested in young people's boozing, sex, angst, should i expect them to care about my issues?