Showing Our Age

Performed by a six-person ensemble under Laurel Ollstein and Theresa Chavez’s direction, this docudrama dramatizes a patchwork of stories about the lives of senior citizens from many corners of the globe. The spine of the piece is Ollstein’s fictional story of a middle-aged woman named Grace (Rose Portillo), who finds herself caregiver to the philandering father (Ramon Hilario) she barely knew as a child. Smartly written and with Portillo’s spirited and drolly sympathetic performance, set off by the credibly cantankerous Hilario, it’s a well-paced, engaging take on a complex social problem. While Ollstein’s front-and-center plot is sharp and focused, some of the other material is not — music-laced monologues and skits based on real-life interviews written by Ollstein and other company members. The narratives are vivid enough: They include a Jewish guy (Kevin Sifuentes) reminiscing on buying kosher chicken in East L.A.; an unhappily married woman (Melody Butiu) who found true love in a bar; a transcriber at the Nuremberg trials (Bernadette Sullivan) who married a Holocaust survivor (Ralph Cole Jr.); and, most heart-rending, a Japanese woman (Butiu) rummaging through the ashes after Hiroshima. But tech elements, including a distracting set and indifferent lighting, undercut the performers’ efforts. Often the seemingly under-rehearsed monologues are addressed to Portillo’s movie-developer character rather than confidingly to the audience — a directorial choice that dilutes both the punch and the pathos. Wednesdays, Thursdays, 11 a.m.; Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 2 p.m. Starts: April 9. Continues through April 27, 2008


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