Stage Door Review 2019

Old-ish

Jul 8, 2019

✭✭✭✭

by Susan Freedman, directed by Alan Silverman

GoodSide Productions, Toronto Fringe Festival, Theatre Passe Muraille Backspace, Toronto

July 5-13, 2019

Susan Freedman’s solo play Old-ish is a joy. The 77-year-old's play may be about aging and death, but its effect is life-enhancing and Freedman herself is an inspiration.

Freedman focuses on what happens when we realize that the category of “people who die” no longer includes those older than we are, like parents or grandparents, but people of our own age. Youth notoriously have little sense of their own mortality, but Freedman says she experienced such a feeling early on when as a young girl she accidentally slid under a Winnipeg transit bus and saw the undercarriage pass over her. 

Freedman tells us that for a long time she was in a state of denial about aging and death, despite the increase over time in her body’s failings. Now, she boasts she is in the blissful state of “Screw it.” This means that the notion of death on the horizon no longer inhibits her pleasure in life but, in fact, increases it. 

The play is beautifully written and filled with memorably pithy remarks. Freedman’s warm, personable delivery and her supremely dry wit make her seem like that older friend or relative whose stories always lift your spirits. Older people will relate to Freedman's trenchant observations. Younger people should find comfort in Freedman as living proof that aging can actually lead to happiness.

Runtime: 45 minutes 

Christopher Hoile

Note: This review appeared in NOW Magazine on July 8, 2019.

Photo: Susan Freedman. © 2018 Alan Silverberg.

For tickets, visit fringetoronto.com.