Index Top Bar
Index Sidebar

Arts Club

Tuesdays with Morrie

By Mitch Albom and Jeffrey Thatcher

Dates 15 June - 26 August 2006  Venue Arts Club Theatre Reviewer Kulpreet Sasan

The final production of The Arts Club Theatre's 2005-06, Tuesdays With Morrie by Mitch Albom and Jeffrey Hatcher, is based on the popular book of the same name by Mitch Albom. The play is about the relationship between the author, an accomplished sports journalist, and his former college professor (Morrie).

The play takes place during the last months of Morrie's life as he fights a losing battle against Lou Gerig's disease. The title arises from the weekly pilgrimages the author makes to his professor's house to ruminate on the meaning of some of life's essential questions.

The play is simply staged. There is no exciting backdrop; there are no spectacular special efffects. We have a spartan stage decorated to appear as Morrie's living room. All we see is an easy chair and side table. The props used in the production are equally simple: a cell phone, some car keys, brown bags of lunches never to be eaten --all serve the plot. The cast consists of Warren Kimmel as Mitch and Antony Holland as Morrie.

Kimmel as Mitch humanizes a character who could easily be seen as rather calculating and exploitive. His cherubim, earnest face does not allow for an unsympathetic interpretation. Kimmel captures the essential 80s Yuppie, but one with latent humanist values, the kind of role Tom Cruise has played his whole career. Kimmel is articulate, feisty and completely believable as the effective professional making his mark on the world. However, some of his moments of angst and distress seem a bit false and pretentious, but this is more a weakness in the script rather than the acting.

Holland carries the weight of experience and knowledge allowing Morrie's character to shine through. Despite some clunky dialogues and some overly sentimental situations, he illustrates a character who refuses to be defined by his ailment. Morrie is allowed to be more than a graphic hero for a debilitating disease, and in Holland's hands becomes human.

Overall, the play is effective in illustrating both the simple joys of a life well lived and in presenting the effects of a debilitating disease.

© 2006 Kulpreet Sastan