The Los Angeles Times from Los Angeles, California on January 22, 1982 · Page 184
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The Los Angeles Times from Los Angeles, California · Page 184

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Los Angeles, California
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Friday, January 22, 1982
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Page 184
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CosAnjjeles Slimes Friday, January 22, J982 Part VI 19 What's lovely about the best of these performances (a few incline toward cutcness) is their backbone. Like the people in Mycrhoffs book, these oldsters aren't looking to be loved. That's something you get from your family, and their families are mostly gone. Respect, that's what they want! This is not achieved by saying yes to every crack-brained idea that comes along, just to be nice. Forget nice. These people care dbout what's right. If the Messiah came, he'd have to wait until they finished arguing. As someone says, it keeps them warm. All that, we get; and it's not nothing. We also get a lot of legitimate laughter as the oldsters turn their lasers on various big shots from outside who think they can just walk into somebody's house and start giving orders. Those who learn differently include John Randolph, who thinks to instruct them on Roberts' Rules of Order, and Hale Porter, who tries to restrict their prayers at a seder to practicing Jews only. Porter is a rabbi. It doesn't save him. Don't Patronize Us is their motto, and Miss Smart Pants Anthropologist (Marti Maraden) tries to be aware of it. Playwright Grossmann tries to be aware, too, but the play does tend to shortchange these people as compared with the book. (I haven't seen the documentary film.) It's fine that they come off as "characters." because that's part of the way they present themselves to the world. A character has a shape, and the biggest enemy these old people face is formlessness the long, empty afternoon of the rest home. We see it take gruff Basha (Eda Reiss Merin). "Tell me a story?" she says at the end. this woman who used to know all the stories. We see their style and we see their vulnerability. What we need more of what gives the book its distinctionis a sense of their moral weight. Grossmann tends to see them sentimentally, as guardians of traditions that we moderns surely T?ed because "tradition" is good foryoung people. But they are seen in the book as something more than charming relatives. They are seen as tough people who know more about the rock-bottom of life than most, be-Please see' NUMBER,' Page 2(1 SOTHTHBUCMM 1 Bi 8BB temple Gau&ens AUTHENTIC CANTONESE CUISINE FOOD TO SO , BANQUET FACILITIES I COCKTAILS BUFFET LUNCHEON DAILY MENU 1 130-130 12201 BROOKHURST, GARDEN GROVE 638-7020 HOURS: MQN.-THUR. 1 130.9:30: FBI. J, SAT. 1130.10:30: SUN. 1-9:30 4 Seder turns into revolution at the old people's center in "Number Our Days," by Suzanne Grossmann. STAGE REVIEW 'NUMBER OUR DAYS': A VINEGARY TASTE By DAN SULLIVAN. Times Theater Critic WITH ROBBEN FORD IN CONCERT 3 I RESH SEAFOOD I FRESH SEAFOOD RESTAURANT (oocnis The sheer, dynamic energy of jazz -fusion's hottest new group, critically acclaimed in their first Warner Bros, release. EXCLUSIVE ORANGE COUNTY APPEARANCE. Ako:The Karen Hammock Trio Sat., Jan. 30-8 p.m. -Saddleback College Mission Viejo Tickets: $10 (tax -deductible) of an Ticketron outlets or send cheek to KSBR, P.O. Box 3420, Mission Vieio 92690. ALL PROCEEDS SUPPORT ORANGE COUNTY'S ONLY JAZZ RADIO STATION. Copies of Barbara Mycrhoffs "Number Our Days" are on display at the Mark Taper Forum's new second-floor bookstand, and I hope that everyone who leaves the Taper's stage version feeling vaguely unsatisfied will buy one and read it. There's the nourishment. Suzanne Grossman's play and certainly John Hirsch's Taper production docs at least part of the job. 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