This inventive, eye opening piece of theatre is created by genius extraordinaire, the mastermind playwright Charles Dennis, who delves into the mind of Franz Altman (portrayed by Michael Laskin), who was in analysis at the age of 7 with Dr. Sigmund Freud. This one man show delves into the life journey and existential angst of Franz Altman, who asks ‘what does it mean to be human and fully experience, taste, and appreciate life after Auschwitz.’ Dennis explores the true meaning of human identity, frailty, one’s purpose and meaning in life, without the surety of who we are and why we were created in the first place, if not to relay our story. A true master of eloquent monologue, a genius of both physical expression and articulation, Michael Laskin, in this one man masterpiece, displays exquisite range of emotion, from the depths of his soul, emitting a true grasp of the precarious human condition, so resonating with the audience.]
Now playing at the Zephyr Theatre (7456 Melrose Avenue) on Fridays and Saturdays at 8PM and Sundays at 3 Pm, through March 13th, this show is a dialectical and poignant portrayal of Franz Altman, with an indomitable spirit and will to survive, against all odds. This show is based on an 11 page essay/analysis written by Dennis, after hearing from a famous psychiatrist in London, about an elderly survivor of the Holocaust, who had attempted suicide. Dennis hopes his audience members with go home and realize the importance of the adage, ‘come grow old with me, the best is yet to be.” Each of us will come to realize our own values, perceptions, and above all, the meaning of life, to live at its fullest, and how tragic it is for one to take his/her own life.
The power player onstage takes full command of his environs, revealing intermittently his personal and professional life, as he responds to an interviewer (off stage, unseen), Ms. Carmichael. In a flirtatious, endearing, (adding levity), he carries the stage and audience’s attention, as he questions the meaning of his life, and life in general. At show’s end, he optimistically sees the glass as half full, quoting his beloved mother, ‘make the most of life, it’s the only gift that’s free!’ The play takes place completely in Altman’s Manhattan thrift shop, quite a fascinating set, in and of itself, with vintage collections and ‘practical clutter,’ near and dear to me, as my own father owned a thrift shop on Fairfax Ave. called “Upscale Resale.” The setting symbolizes tangible items we collect and hold onto, when the world at large seems to be crumbling. Often, ‘objects are safer than people.’ There are so many gems of dialogue such as this one, and endless pearls of wisdom to glean, uttered by Altman, that, like a good book, one doesn’t want the show to end.
The play deals with matters of the heart and soul, true depth, gravity, with hints of levity to balance the dramatic tension onstage. Laskin, this brilliant actor, proves the fact that there is truly only one medium in which reinvention is possible…. and live theatre is it.
The show runs 90 minutes with an intermission.
For reservations, call (323) 960-4412