Review: 'The Old Men Are Young Again' by Sacred Heart University Theatre Arts

Nancy Sasso Janis

OnStage Connecticut Critic / Connecticut Critics Circle

“Would you really want to live forever?”

Fairfield, CT - ‘The Old Men Are Young Again’ is an original one-act play written by the Sacred Heart University Theatre Arts Program student Edward Feeley. A group of dedicated SHU theatre students decided to take on the challenge of launching a production of the play in the university’s Little Theatre all by themselves. The actors learned their lines over winter break and had their first rehearsal on Monday for this completely student-run production that opened on Friday night and runs through Saturday. SHU Students Sean Whelan and Julia Vezza served as directors. 

The play battles with the concept of human immortality and takes inspiration from the ancient legend of Gilgamesh. The story follows a man with the unwieldy name of Utnapishtim, an immortal man from the Epic of Gilgamesh, as he continues his life in modern day times. He is polishing a large sword one day when a strange man knocks on his door and leads him to an opportunity that he long thought he had lost. In flashbacks, we learn how this strange man has found “Tim” as well as how the immortal has been extorting the US government. How he chooses to deal with this new-found opportunity involving an oddly named plant is revealed in the surprising ending. 

I was surprised at how much humor there was in what could have been a pretty heavy piece of work. The university students appreciated it as much as I did. The weighty aspects are definitely in play, raising some questions about the pros and cons of immortality. The four students in the cast attracted some fellow theatre students to attend opening night at my alma mater, which except for one bit of difficulty navigating tricky stairs in the dark, went off seamlessly.

Patrick Robinson (Prospero in SHU’s ‘The Tempest’) is featured in the role of Tim and proves once again that he is a natural on the stage. SHU junior Zachary Lane (Jon in SHU’s ‘Tick, Tick...Boom’) is equally as strong as that strange man that shows up on Tim’s doorstep. Melissa Ferlo is convincing as Joanne, a university student interviewing Tim at a coffee shop and Bradley Taylor (‘The Tempest’) is just as convincing as a staunch government agent in dark sunglasses called Bush.  

All of the technical aspects of the show are done well by the students, including the fine lighting and offstage sound effects. Stage manager is Alex Kostis, Producer/Lights/Sound is done by Nick Patino and Assistant Director is Abby Black. The crew includes Sven Vogel and Kevin Carlson.

My one recommendation would be to provide the audience with a program, even if is a one-page list of performers and crew. It is a necessity for reviewers and other patrons not in the university community and appreciated by all audience members, even if they recycle it at the end of the show. 

Coming up at Sacred Heart University: 

'The Old Men are Young Again' (an original work) Friday January 20-Sunday January 22 at 8pm
'Working: The Musical' Thursday February 16-19, Thursday February 23-26
'Spoon River Anthology' Thursday March 16-19, Thursday March 23-26
'Jesus Christ Superstar' Thursday April 6-Sunday April 9 (I can’t wait!)
'Theatrefest' April 21-23, April 28-30 

Each of the shows will be in the Little Theatre with the exception of 'Jesus Christ Superstar' which is their Mainstage production. Every show begins at 8pm with the exception of the Sunday matinee at 3pm. 

Nancy Sasso Janis (@nancysjanis417) is one of the newest members of the Connecticut Critics Circle. She continues to contribute theatre news on local sites and check out her Facebook page Connecticut Theatre Previews.