COD’s ‘Tuesdays’ is a play with a message
By Randall G. Mielke For Sun-Times Media April 20, 2012 10:36AM
‘Tuesdays with Morrie’
♦ May 4-27
♦ McAninch Arts Center at College of DuPage, 425 Fawell Blvd., Glen Ellyn
♦ Tickets, $25-$33
♦ (630) 942-4000
When Buffalo Theatre Ensemble’s Associate Artistic Director Amelia Barrett started directing the troupe’s latest production, “Tuesdays with Morrie,” she knew that the writing would be one of the most significant aspects of the play.
“When we first held production meetings for the play, I wanted to keep the set sparse and let the words and ideas lift it up,” Barrett said. “I wanted everything to be simple and quiet and let the words do the talking.”
The Buffalo Theatre Ensemble will present “Tuesdays with Morrie” beginning May 4 at the McAninch Arts Center at the College of DuPage.
“Tuesdays with Morrie,” by Jeffrey Hatcher and Mitch Albom, is based on the 1997 best-selling book by Mitch Albom. The play tells the story of Morrie Schwartz, an eccentric Brandeis University sociology professor and Mitch Albom, Morrie’s former student.
Sixteen years after graduation, Mitch happens to catch Morrie’s appearance on a television news program and learns that his former professor is battling Lou Gehrig’s disease.
Mitch is reunited with Morrie, and what starts as a simple visit turns into a weekly pilgrimage and an unexpected renewed relationship. The play chronicles their weekly visits as Schwartz mentors his former student with valuable life lessons from the perspective of a man in the twilight of his life.
The BTE production features Michael Sassone as Morrie and Carl Lindberg as Mitch.
“The play touches us and encourages us to look at our own lives,” Barrett said. “I know it gave me questions that I wanted to ask my mentor. And, it is a bit like reconnecting with my younger self and who I wanted to be and what I have become.”
Barrett said that directing a two-person play has its pros and cons.
“It is a combination of good and bad,” she said. “No one gets a break and, as an actor, you might get tired. But also there is the excitement of working quickly, with a lot of intensity. With two people they are running the show. They are taking you on this journey.
“We do the play without intermission,” she continued. “That is how it is written. We do it straight through. It does put a little more pressure on the actors because once you start, you do not stop. But it is also a bit freeing.”
Despite the nature of the play, Barrett finds it very inspirational.
“It is ironic that the play deals with death, but it is truly about living,” she said. “It is uplifting and funny at the same time. It shows the power of mentoring and love.
“It is about what you do with your life,” she continued. “In this case, not only for Mitch, but also Morrie. It is an uplifting, positive message.”