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THE OLD LADY The New Phoenix Theatre Company
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Sep 21, 2017, 12:57
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Through October 7
THE OLD LADY The New Phoenix Theatre Company

Families are strange and quirky, each in their own way.
Israel Horovitz’ “The Old Lady” is about two families which turn out to be a lot closer than anyone knew.
The show is built around a vast apartment in one of the most historic and sought-after sections of Paris, near the legendary Luxembourg Gardens.
Mathias “Jim” Gold (Richard Lambert), broke and almost bereft of family, arrives in Paris to take over an apartment his father bought decades ago and left to his son when he died.
He plans to quickly sell the flat to ease his desperate financial situation.
Then, he runs across a quirky French law in a legal code of quirks.
There is an elderly widow, Anne Gayley’s Mathilde Girard, living in the apartment and because her father sold the apartment to Jim’s father under special circumstances, under French law she can stay until she dies and she’s now thriving at 92.
Her daughter Chloe (Eileen Dugan) also lives somewhere in the vast array of rooms making up the apartment.
Mme. Girard has been paying the monthly charge for the apartment for years and now Jim has to and he doesn’t have the cash since he planned on selling it immediately for a lot of money.
So, Jim moves in and scrapes together essentially a pawn shop situation.
The core of the plot isn’t the apartment, but the story behind the purchase.
Gradually, Mme. Girard tells her story of her relationship with Jim’s father and Jim begins to understand the tensions in his own family, especially between his mother and father.
He also begins to understand why daughter Chloe is so angry about Jim because of the effect on her family.
The story?
Jim’s father and Chloe’s mother were lovers for many years and the opposite parent knew there was someone else, although not who.
Both marriages suffered almost fatally.
Jim’s dad was rich and involved in many businesses which brought him to Paris frequently.
Chloe knew what was going on ,although not who he was.
This is a play of character, because the show has only three performers in three strong performances.
You may have seen this show in a movie of the same name, with a seriously strong cast and some wonderful scenery of Paris.
As products of dysfunctional marriages, Jim and Chloe are drawn together, with a singular question in the background.
“The Old Lady” is a fascinating story of love and the passage of time, love to the exclusion of reality and marriage.
Of course, this is Paris, with its walks along the Seine or wandering through the Latin Quarter with its legends of Heloise and Abelard.
“The Old Lady” is a fascinating tale of love gone wrong and paying a heavy price.
Director Michael Lodick makes really strong use of his three cast members, especially Gayley on Chris Wilson’s fascinating and effective set of a Paris apartment.
It’s really worth seeing.

A.W.

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