The auditorium at the retirement home was packed yesterday evening for the Drama Group’s annual performance. Children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren were scattered among the audience of residents and there was an air of eager anticipation as we waited for the curtain to rise so we could finally see the month long secret.
It’s a select group of residents that disappears a couple of times a week to rehearse in private so that the final performance will be a surprise. And surprise it was! The young professional producer of the play gave a short introduction. Proud of his cast, he was nervous that one of the actors would develop a last minute case of stage fright – or something much worse considering the advanced age of his cast. He needn’t have worried. Everyone kept their heads and remained calm.
The play was of a Jewish family in Spain arguing about an inheritance. The costumes were black and somber, the lighting was slightly dimmed but the voices of the actors were firm and strong, a major feature among the group where the minimum age was about 80. As far as I could see or hear, no one forgot their lines, no one missed a cue and no one fell off the stage. One man, the only one is the cast, was unable to mount the steps to the stage and did his part from a front row seat.
The leading lady and runaway star of the show was 97 year old Nessia, who led the dialog without missing a beat. She received a standing ovation from the audience and gracefully accepted a posy of flowers from the producer.
It goes to show that with the right genes, a bit of luck and a big helping of enthusiasm we can live for almost ever and still be productive and make a contribution.