Toluca Players Making a Comeback … in The Middle Ages

The cast of “The Middle Ages”: Back row, from l, Jose Lambert, Barbara Hughes, Dawn Davis, and Shannon Shea. Second row, from l, C. Kat, Joe Rubinstein, Beth Howard, Martie Miles, and Thomas Callahan. Front row, from l, Allen Merritt, Tina Baldridge, Mark Mutafian — the Clown slightly in front — Jonee Shady, and Norma Burgess.

The Middle Ages, written and directed by Pat Allee, will make its debut at the Toluca Lake Methodist Church, Taber Hall, rich with nostalgia for its troupe, The Toluca Lake Players. This 99 seat waiver theatre is able to use highly talented equity actors. Taber Hall started as “a little community theatre that could,” and then the room went unused for years. Resourceful and enterprising Dean Schulman went to the church and asked if they would be interested in reviving the space for theatre purposes … the rest is history. The first production is The Middle Ages.

It looks at today’s middle age, asking, “If 60 is the new 40, then at 50, am I 30?” The show is a series of vignettes on mid-life quandaries, declaring it to be not the end of life, but a beginning.

As Boomers face empty nests and aging parents, every vignette is sure to resonate. There is one serious piece in the show, where Meg dreams of retiring early; in the process, as fate would have it, she endures a divorce and loses her beloved dog. Another theme involves Sarah, daughter of an Alzheimer’s patient, while another features a slightly tipsy woman marrying off her son.

This theatre was dark for so many years. Art truly does imitate life, as blue skies and rainbow visions are once again brought to surface for TheTolucaLakePlayers at Taber Hall. Dean Schulman and Pat Allee hold steadfast to their creative ambitions and passions for local theatre in this community, and the survival and flourishing of this theatre space, giving it renewed life and hope.

The Middle Ages runs Fridays and Saturday nights at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. July 13—29. Taber Hall is located at 4301 Cahuenga (corner of Cahuenga and Whipple). For tickets, call (323) 653-3498.

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