Thursday, April 09, 2009

Tuesdays with Morrie - Taproot Theatre Company

Tuesdays with Morrie

Taproot Theatre Company

March 25 – April 25, 2009

Tickets and Information

Mitch Albom’s stories about his time with his professor and mentor, Morrie Schwartz, make up one of the most beloved memoirs of all time, Tuesdays with Morrie. I can hardly imagine any student coming out of a high school these days without some exposure to Albom’s novel. I was never required to read it for a class, but at least three teachers in my high school required the reading and I know of two throughout my college career who also used the text in class. Albom’s storytelling and recounting of the amazing man who was Morrie Schwartz is as beautiful as was Schwartz’ outlook on life. Now these stories have come to life across America. Beginning with the off-Broadway premier of the stage adaptation (Mitch Albom and playwright Jeffrey Hatcher) in 2002, Tuesdays with Morrie has swept the nation in the past seven years and is now on our doorstep at Taproot Theatre Company.

Nolan Palmer and Aaron Lamb in Tuesdays with Morrie. Photo by Erik Stuhaug 2009.

Directed by Karen Lund (Associate Artistic Director at Taproot), Tuesdays with Morrie comes simply and classily to the stage. For a grand story about a simple couple of men, a skilled hand is required and Lund provides it. Aaron Lamb (playing Mitch Albom) shows his transformation from his college “tough-guy” personae through the rough-and-tumble sports journalist into the thoroughly human man we come to love with precision and grace. Similarly, Nolan Palmer (playing Morrie Schwartz) is a master of the transformation. As Morrie ages, Palmer’s body seems to age with resolve to become the character. Palmer and Lamb bring such a wealth of skill to the table as would warm any director or audiences’ hearts and Lund’s work with them both is a great accomplishment.

Mark Lund’s set and sound design is also very efficient and precise. The set is wonderfully compact and efficient. While in some instances the audio elements pull more focus than they ought, the composition and execution of the sound and soundtrack is quite lovely.

Tuesdays with Morrie has been one of the most heartwarming stories literature has had to offer for many years, and now offers the same warmth via the stage. One must be prepared to walk out of the theater asking oneself the same questions Morrie asks Mitch about life, love and what is really important to be the most fulfilled person one can be.

Review by Nigel Andrews

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