Tuesdays with Morrie
An hour and fifteen minutes will fly by and leave you satisfied.by Will Demers, EDGE
If you’ve ever had a college professor that you really clicked with, then you know that spending time at university was a breeze. Taking all their classes, spending time in their office after hours, and having some great talks cements a relationship that will last a lifetime. But what if that doesn’t happen? After college life gets in the way and the people you met while you were learning fall by the wayside, and you move on with adulthood.
“Tuesdays with Morrie” is an examination of the lives of two men, one young, one old, but both connected by the past. Mitch is an ideal student, eager to learn, a lover of music and books. Morrie dispenses his advice easily to Mitch, especially when he’s stuck in a quandary about what he should be when he grows up. The professor suggests books, music and to say yes to his father when he suggests that he become a lawyer, but never give up playing his music.
After graduation, Mitch premises Morrie that he’ll keep in touch. Morrie asks him to repeat his promise aloud, but it doesn’t matter. Sixteen years will pass in the meantime, and Mitch becomes a sports writer, engaged to his girlfriend of seven years, and insanely busy with work. In all that time he never contacts his old professor until one night he sees Morrie on Nightline being interviewed by Ted Koppel. Morrie has Lou Gehrig’s disease and he cannot teach any longer. Mitch hops on a plane from home in Detroit to Massachusetts to reconnect with him.
2nd Story Theatre presents this one act play with a sweet and sentimental tale, based on Mitch Albom’s bestselling book of the same name. Mitch (Jeff DeSisto) isn’t a nice guy; he’s constantly yelling into his cell phone, making excuses for himself and insisting that he is happy. Morrie (Jay Burke) is accepting of his illness, even forgiving of the fact that Mitch didn’t keep in touch for sixteen years. The younger man agrees to visit the older every Tuesday, bringing food as an offering, and just sitting and talking for hours.
Both actors play incredibly well off each other; Burke has the daunting task of playing Morrie mostly immobile or unable to move well, he is excellent here. DeSisto has an edge, we immediately aren’t sure if we like him at all, given his blustery way and pompous attitude. The resolution of his character’s journey is so much the sweeter in his final conversation with Morrie, which is a bit of a tearjerker. Director Mark Peckham keeps the show as intimate as it must be, and the small set enhances the connection between the two men.
The reflections and relationship between two people at different stages of their lives is examined with funny moments, tragic stories and some grand advice. An hour and fifteen minutes will fly by and leave you satisfied.