Village Players show focuses on ‘growing old with dignity’Written by Chase Will | | firstname.lastname@example.org
The Village Player’s production of “Quartet” aims to change your perception of senior citizens.
The comedic drama follows four retired opera singers who must deal with the harsh realities of aging when an ex-wife shows up and causes friction.
“It’s a really beautiful play about growing old with dignity, which is really what drew me to it,” said Jeff Albright, director.
“I have older parents, and I’ve always been interested in that whole process as I’m going through it with them,” Albright said. “We often throw senior citizens to the wayside as a forgotten population, and this play really shows how vital they can be.”
According to Albright, Toledo has a rich population of older actors who don’t get enough opportunities to showcase their abilities.
Carol Ann Erford plays Cecily, a character in the beginning stages of Alzheimer’s. Erford said that although Cecily serves as comic relief, she’s a very layered character who can move audiences to tears as quickly as laughter.
“It’s wonderful to see how these older characters react to each other,” Erford said. “Audiences will see bits and pieces of themselves and their parents in these roles, especially those approaching mature age.”
Erford claims that her passion for acting began in the ’60s, when there weren’t nearly as many performance opportunities for younger actors.
“It was ensemble learning back then, which comes in handy with a show like this because if one person gets hung up on a line, someone else can jump in and save them,” Erford said.
An interesting challenge for John DuVall, who plays Reginald Paget, is portraying a character 30 years outside his range.
“It’s a new thing for me. I think the majority of it is through body language and facial expressions,” DuVall said. “It’s all elevated by makeup, but we really don’t rely too heavily on that.”
DuVall said the play explores how no senior citizen is just another face in the crowd, and how everyone you see has an interesting story to tell about their life.
“You’re not always an old person. Everyone has a history, and this play talks a lot about that. For me, as a younger actor playing someone so old, it really made me think,” DuVall said.
With 30 years of directing experience, Albright finds his equal passion for acting gives him an advantage with his cast.
“It helps because we all speak the same sort of language, so there’s a level of intuitiveness about the process,” said Albright.
“Quartet” plays Sept. 12-13 and 18-20 at 8 p.m. and Sept. 14 at 2 p.m. The Village Players Theatre is located at 2740 Upton Ave. Tickets are available at (419) 472-6817 for $16, or $14 for students and seniors.. O