If you are at an age when your parents are becoming “the children” and you are becoming “the parents”, then this play hits home. SOCIAL SECURITY at the Playmasters theatre in southern Bucks County presents author Andrew Bergman’s tale of a Mother coming to live with a well-to- do couple in their Manhattan apartment and turning their lives upside down. After spending years living with another daughter and her husband in the suburbs of Long Island, Sophie Greengrass, a widowed Jewish mother, goes to live with her other “rich” daughter, Barbara, and her husband David Kahn, in New York City. Barbara and David are art dealers and live in a world without children of their own, selling expensive paintings to customers and entertaining artists from around the world. Sophie’s presence changes everything. Barbara, played by Regina Deavitt, must deal with the Jewish “guilt” laid on her heavily by Sophie, played by a young looking Ann D’Silva. Joe Adams, as David, gives Jay Leno like muggings to the audience whenever his mother-in-law provides him the opportunity to do so. The Long Island couple, Martin and Trudy Heyman, (Ron Green and Ronit Adini), have had Sophie live with them for years, but now must go to Buffalo, NY, to save their own daughter, Sarah, from falling into a life of random, unloving sexual experiences with two men she is living with. The Heymans blame Sophie for the reason Sarah goes wild while supposedly attending college in upstate New York. They “dump” Sophie on the Kahn’s doorstep and go after Sarah to save her. The story takes a couple twists and turns when Sophie is introduced to Maurice Koenig, a 98 year old famous Jewish painter, played by Act II theatre founder, Stephen Blumenthal, who” doesn’t look a day over 90” (Line from the play). Sophie suddenly changes from Yenta to “Billie Holliday” and charms the old guy and a budding romance starts. The show continues with this “worm to butterfly conversion”, not only changing Sophie, but everyone else as to how to think and act about getting older.
Playmasters’ audience, mainly seniors themselves, seemed to really enjoy this production. Donald, from Richboro, thought it was “great – entertaining”. He and his wife, Dianna, were season subscribers at Langhorne Theatre, and decided to give Playmasters “a whirl” and see this show. “It’s normal, there is no screaming or cursing in this show” said Dianna. She likes to be entertained when she sees plays. (Writer’s note: I know much of the sexual content of this show was edited down and even some lines eliminated for whatever reason; probably because Playmasters’ particular audience prefers it that way. I assume that Director Bob Clothier or Producer Heather MacHenry played editor here.) Tim, from NE Phila who looked to his wife for answers when I asked him how he enjoyed the show, eventually said that he could “relate to the show”, that it was “a funny story”. Tim also came to the show because he knew one of the cast members. A group of twelve friends all attended this production and three of them, Steve, Marta and Judy, all proclaimed it a success. Steve said it was “enlightening”, while Marta called it “realistic”. Judy thought it was a “nice, cute little comedy”.
Playmasters seems to know their audience and they do their best to provide them with the entertainment they seek. After interviewing patrons, I think Playmasters seems to hit their sweet spot. You can check out more about Playmasters and their schedule of shows at www.playmasters.org.
by Andrew Bergman
Directed by Bob Clothier
November 26 – December 12, 2010