Lipitor jokes? Check.
Neil Simon-esque puns? Check.
The target audience for the Fertile Ground Festival ’s Short Plays by Nameless Playwrights , an evening of ten-minute plays by eight 60+ writers, seemed to be largely just that—60+. But one play stood out as a piece that transcends generations, as sturdy as the highest-grade titanium hip.
Aged Meet by John A. Donnelly, about two seniors having a coffee date after finding each other on “MeetASenior.com.” It could have been corny—but in Donnelly’s treatment, it came off clever, fast-moving, and charming. Actors Scott Malcolm and Sue Ellen Christensen were absorbing and quickly made me forget that it was a reading, not an actual staged play. They delivered their lines with care and sharp wit, ensuring each line got the attention it deserved. As the play went on, their chemistry grew.
“Do you always insult perfect strangers? Not that I’m perfect, of course.”
“I have no current lover, but my deceased husband visits me every week or so to discuss this or that.”
“I’m drawn to you, like a moth who can’t breed.”
“This hip isn’t original equipment.”
“I didn’t say you’re a Looney Toon – you’re more a Merrie Melody.”
After a while the oldie quips matter less than the trepidation that comes with forging a new relationship with a stranger—and any generation can relate to that feeling. John Donnelly is brave to meld the contemporary idea of Internet dating with over-the-hill characters, but his risk pays off. At first, I was shaking my head at his corny references, but as the play went on I was beaming – watching something unfold before me that was honest, and human, and surprisingly universal. By halfway through I was rooting for it, and the ending didn’t let me down. Well done, Mr. Donnelly. “Nameless” or not, you deserve a place in the playwrights’ pantheon.