“In Old Age” at the Magic Theatre

“In Old Age” at the Magic Theatre

Carol Benet

For all too short a run Mfoniso Udofia’s “In Old Age”, a world premiere, played at The Magic Theatre.

As part of Udofia’s family  series, several of which have played at The Magic, “Old Age” has only two actors, superbly represented by Nancy Monicette as Abasiama and  Steven Anthony Jones as Azell.  Azell has been hired to make repairs, first of all a new wooden cherry floor, in the house of Abasiama that needs many other repairs.  Abasiama’s grown children have hired Azellm to do the repairs.

A tired old man, Azell encounters a very suspicious Abasiama as he explains why he is there.  She is reluctant to let him in and do anything.  She will have to move the furniture from the living room, so cleverly created by  Andrew Boyce with its couch and large television.  She is grumpy at the disruption and doesn’t trust anyone interfering with her routine, mainly consisting of sleeping on her couch and watching t.v.

 

They are not off to a good start.  Little by little they reveal their stories.  She is an immigrant from Nigeria whose children have succeeded.  He has a story that i will  not reveal.  There are hints of the influence of the theater of the  absurd with Painteresque sounds coming from other rooms that maybe inhabited by otherworldly beings.  Also Sam Shepard’s American realism family dynamics, but here from the viewpoint of African Americans, are also evident. in “Old Age”.  The Magic Theatre always lay claim to Sam Shepard as their hero because  many of his plays were premiered there.

They squabble  over the time he should begin work settling on 6 a.m., but neither of them can be ready for this early hour. What music to play in the background becomes another issue.  And the pounding on the door from another room — What the heck is this all aboutt?

Courtney Flores’ costumes are perfect for these two seedy characters.   York Kennedy’s lighting and Sara Huddleston’s sound create a believable environment for these circumstances.  And Victor Malana Maog’s directions is excellent.  Let’s hope we see this play again and more of Udofia’s family cycle at The Magic Theatre.

“In Old Age” plays through April 21, 2019 at The Magic Theatre in Fort Mason, San Francisco.  magictheatre.org or 415 441.8822.

About the Author

Carol BenetCarol Benet received her Ph.D. in Comparative Literature from the University of California, Berkeley, where she won an Outstanding Teaching Award. She also received a B.A. in English and an M.A. in French Language and Literature from the University of Michigan. Her teaching assignments have been at UC Berkeley, UC Berkeley Extension, Dominican University and Washington State University. Currently she holds literature discussion groups in Marin County and San Francisco and is a critic of the arts for The Ark Newspaper and a contributor to ARTSSF.com and ForAllEvents.com.View all posts by Carol Benet →