Thoughts & Musings

‘Tuesdays With Morrie’ at Warren’s 2nd Story Theatre rings true

It's a sweet tale about the inevitability of death, without a lot of philosophical dressing.

by Channing Gray, Providence Journal
  • 6th June 20166/06/16
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You might expect great insight and profound pronouncements from “Tuesdays With Morrie,” the latest offering from 2nd Story Theatre. But this encounter between a college professor who is dying of Lou Gehrig’s disease, and a former student, is a sweet tale about the inevitability of death, without a lot of philosophical dressing.

It’s a simple tale, really, in which Mitch, who is now a sports writer, forms a relationship with his former professor at Brandeis University, in which he spends time with him every Tuesday.

What starts out as a one-time visit turns into something of ritual, as Mitch spends his weeks visiting Morrie. But if you are expecting great insight into the meaning of life, you may be disappointed.

For Morrie is in a lot of ways a simple down-to-earth guy, who simply sees death as a very natural process. Not a terribly big deal, in a way.

Morrie Schwartz, of course, becomes something of a celebrity, with his home-spun outlook. He’s on the Ted Koppel show. But really, he’s a simple guy who appreciates the moment, and doesn’t have a lot to say that you might call profound.

True, he does say things like facing death makes you appreciate life more. But Morrie’s insights are refreshingly simple. It is love that is important, that endures, he says.

“Tuesdays” is a two-hander with no intermission. Jeff DeSisto plays Mitch, the former student who becomes Morrie’s weekly companion. He’s turned out to be an ambitious sports reporter, who is pretty clueless until he decides to drop in on Morrie.

And an on-going relationship develops, in which Mitch begins to see the directness of life. His time with Morrie lets him understand that things are pretty much as they are, and Morrie’s gradual decline is just the way life plays out.

Jay Burke is terrific as Morrie, a man who has no regrets and takes pleasure in the simplest of things. Towards the end of the play, when he is near death, he asks Mitch to turn his head so he can look out the window.

It’s not a terribly profound moment, just a very human, caring moment that makes this one-act play ring true.

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