The Golden Years, Ebb and Tide of Life
They call it the Golden Years … “come grow old with me, the best is yet to be….” Or is it? In Eventide, now playing at the Secret Rose Theatre, “growing older gracefully,” a theme covered in a myriad of plays, musicals, films, songs, and poems … is explored in depth. The two main characters, Lou Bronson (Martin Clark) and Audrey Bronson (Sara Shearer) face this stage in their life in all its glory: self-discovery, along with finding inner peace and balance — amidst a balancing act of overcoming dizzy spells. Shakespeare eloquently relays in a renowned soliloquy from As You Like It, a commentary on the aging process: “All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women are merely players … with spectacles on nose and pouch on side, his youthful hose well saved, a world too wide … last scene of all, that ends this strange, eventful history….” As the two performers face their final curtain, the sunset of their lives, many contrasts come to life: Dreams and Reality; Darkness and Light; Death and Life; Heartbreak and Love. It’s as if they are on a desert island, castaways reflecting on their past (along with the supporting actors), Stanley, (Phil Talsky), their supportive relative; and Gloria (Deborah Thomas), their comforting caregiver. They mainly look straight ahead, at the TV, a crucial “invisible” prop, or into an imaginary mirror, reflecting on their past — what they did and didn’t do, yet never crying over spilled milk, but maintaining a positive, optimistic view on the future, with hopes of renewing wedding vows, despite various aches, pains, illnesses, and the overall foibles and perils of aging. The couple is likened to a “fragile pair of faded ceramics,” complete with a long history of personality, stories, and memories. Rather than face their impending mortality, they choose to “be strong, rather than weak,” pretend and make believe that the “good times will last forever.”
Alas, “Man plans and God laughs….” As Lou and Audrey prepare to face the final sunset, and the stage’s final curtain descends, the audience is drawn into the fragility, fleeting nature of life, and the importance of “living each day as one’s last,” a true existential philosophy. “There is only one day left, always starting over: It is given to us at dawn and taken away from us at dusk.”
? Jean-Paul Sartre
Eventide is playing at the Secret Rose Theatre located at 11246 Magnolia Blvd. in NoHo. Performances are on Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m., and Sundays at 2 p.m. through June 3. For tickets, visit www.eventideplay.com, www.secretrose.com, or call (818) 850-3244.