ElderPair: Four Senior Courtship Comedies
Forgive and Forget:
An elderly woman reveals to her forgetful husband what makes forgiving easier.
Perfect for You: In the not-too-distant future, when human-looking robots provide the assistance in “Assisted Living,” the pleasantly out-of-touch Viola makes a play for her Robbie without realizing his true nature. He, of course, resists…until his programmed need to please her proves his undoing.
The Unveiling: In an attempt to get her husband’s attention, she threatens to enter the convent. he doesn’t take her seriously and ridicules her admiration for the nuns who live across the street and their caring and affection for one another. Seductively, she reminds him of their early romantic moments—until his fear of not being able to deliver “what comes after” gets the better of him.
Working It Out: What makes us fall in love? Pheromones or fate? The Greeks would have it both ways—if you believe your Homer… and your Sophocles. But that was ago. Today? Well…the gods of the gym might say: blame it on the Greeks! It’s his turn at the lateral pull-down machine, but she doesn’t want to give it up, so flirts her way into additional time. He resists, but then flirts back.
From the Play
SETTING: The Senior Center Fitness Room. The present
AT LIGHTS UP: Two chairs. Work-out music. Lighting alternates throughout scene: green for a minute; red for 30 seconds. MAN and WOMAN mime use of equipment. As lights come up, light is green. WOMAN is seated at the lateral pull-down machine. MAN is on the leg extension machine, lifting and lowering the weighted “roll” with his ankles. They go at it for several beats. Lights change to red. MAN gets up, moves to lateral pull down. WOMAN continues exercising, clearly “into” the music. MAN watches WOMAN with mild impatience, which gradually mounts. Music fades. WOMAN looks out, not at MAN, while exercising.
MAN: Excuse me. (WOMAN ignores this.) Excuse me. (WOMAN acknowledges MAN with a passing glance, but continues to exercise during the following dialogue.) Um…the light is red.
MAN: Your time’s up.
MAN: I think it’s time to move.
WOMAN: Move where?
MAN: To the next machine.
WOMAN: Who says?
MAN: Well… (Pointing to a sign on the fourth wall.) the rules.
WOMAN: Oh that’s optional.
WOMAN: It’s just for people who want to do it that way.
MAN: I want to do it that way.
WOMAN: So who’s stopping you?
MAN: You are.
WOMAN: I pay my dues too, you know.
MAN: That’s not the point.
MAN: The point is the light stays green for one minute—that’s when you exercise. Then it goes to red for thirty seconds—that’s when you change machines.
WOMAN: When do you blow your nose?
MAN: Very cute.
WOMAN: Well, I mean it’s a hard choice—to blow on the exercise time or blow on the change time. But sometimes nature makes untimely demands. Bodily fluids will out. I just wonder how you handle that.
MAN: I could get the volunteer supervisor.
WOMAN: Or the police. The Time Troopers. The Meticulous Monitors of Mighty Machines.
MAN: You know, it’s people like you that make the world an unpleasant place.
WOMAN: You’re right. The serial killers, rapists, suicide bombers, drug dealers and lateral pull-down hogs are screwing up the planet.
MAN: Look, I know that selfish cynics and anarchists need their exercise too. But aren’t you…tired?
WOMAN: Just finding my stride.
MAN: Your face is turning red.
WOMAN: Probably a reflection of the “change” light.
MAN: Or blood pressure soaring.
WOMAN: Sounds like you’re the one with that problem.
MAN: Seriously. I wouldn’t want you to have a heart attack.
WOMAN: Seriously. I’ll risk it. But thanks for trying to save me from myself.
MAN: But now I have to ask myself are you worth saving?