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Theatre Review: Old Love



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(Sacramento, CA)
Wednesday, August 18, 2010
Norm Foster is a playwright who gives voice to everyday life. His dialog doesn't dazzle you with fancy wordplay - though he does know how to set up a joke. His stories focus on the kind of people you're likely to meet in your neighborhood, or at work. But even though they're "normal," Foster's characters still CAN be ECCENTRIC. . . like the balding man in this scene, who's seeking a date with a grey-haired woman. 
"It's just at my age, I …"
"And what age is that?"
"Pardon me?"
"How old are you?"
"You see, that is exactly why I got the coffee to go."
Age, of course, is normally a taboo subject - but given Foster's light approach, it's funny.
"No. Can't you tell?? I mean my God, look at me. Wrinkles on the neck. Lines on my face. I know you must know that I'm somewhere between 40 and 60."
(Laughter, the audience clearly thinks she's older)
"I love those lines. I love a woman who's comfortable with aging. They'd have the neck smoothed over…"
That exchange - first the forbidden question, then a reassuring statement - is symbolic of this show. It's an extended duet, in which actor David Silberman plays a genial gent who keeps surprising the character played by actress Judy Jean Berns. After a moment of disbelief, she recovers her poise, and gradually realizes she sort of likes the guy.
Aside from the novelty of the blunt questions, which are fun for the audience, there aren't many surprises in this show. It's basically a matter of "old boy" gets "old girl," with a few complications. But playwright Foster has a knack for presenting characters that feel familiar, even reassuring. The guy writes the theatrical equivalent of middle-class comfort food… it's not fancy, but hey, in times like these, folks like a slice of tasty meat loaf as they navitage the buffet table of life. Norm Foster, and the B Street Theater, have figured this out.

"Old Love" plays at the B Street Theater through September 12th.
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