|Will Hare,, Bette Heinritze, Stefan Schnabel, Polly Rowles, Barnard Hughes, Madeleine Sherwood.
The 70s saw a considerable number of plays dealing with the
unique problems of senior citizens, although nothing like the rush of
dementia/Alzheimer’s plays that would plague the stage in the 2010s. John Ford
Noonan approached a wide assortment of such issues in this surrealistic series
of 13 vignettes. The same characters appeared in a few sketches, but for the
most part each sketch used new ones. This allowed the strong, six-member
company of veteran actors to each play several roles. Among them: a pair of gay,
geriatric lovers who write songs; a faded film star; a trio of desiccated virgins;
and the sexually frustrated widow of a scientist. In the nameworthy cast were Will Hare, Bette Heinritze, Stefan Schnabel, Polly Rowles, Barnard Hughes, and Madeleine Sherwood.
Sex among the senescent was a principal theme of this
tepidly received comedy. Its comic thrusts were dismissed as “superficial . . .
, vacantly and aimlessly written in a way that not even a commercial hack would
settle for,” as Martin Gottfried phrased it. A few critics were put off by what
Douglas Watt called its “arty and self-conscious” style, while Jack Kroll
damned the author’s “irritating blatherskate,” Edith Oliver blasted its lack of
any true understanding of old people’s ideas and desires, and John Simon could
only yawn, “you do not know what boredom is until you’ve sat through this one.”