Driftwood Players

"Social Security" Sept. - Oct. 1989

By Andrew Bergman, Directed by Tony Daniewicz and Jane Mezera

Ann McCabe: (Barbara Kahn) Tobi Anderson: (Sophie Greengrass)

Douglas Sipe : (David Kahn) Ann McCabe: (Barbara Kahn)

Ernie Ingram: (Maurice Koenig) Tobi Anderson: (Sophie Greengrass)

Judy Ball: (Trudy Heyman) Bill Bilsland: (Martin Heyman)

Pictures by
Alan Stamwitz

From The Daily World Thursday, September 21, 1989

Play has fun with problems of aging

By Micki Colwell
Daily World correspondent

    What to do with momma? That's a question most people will face at one time or another. Should we put her in a home? Should we take care of her, or let a brother or sister do it?

    The Driftwood Players' season-opening production of "Social Security" attempts to deal with this difficult subject in a light-hearted, yet serious vein.

    This delightful comedy directed by Jane Mezera and Tony Daniewicz will continue the next three weekends at 8:15 p.m. at the Driftwood Playhouse with a matinee October 7 at 2 p.m.

    Tickets are available at Harbor Drug in Hoquiam, City Drug and Captain's Cove in Aberdeen and Sagen's Monte Drug in Montesano. It would be wise to get tickets early as most shows are sold out.

    The directors successfully weave the relationship of Sophie Greengrass, the graying mother, with her two children, Barb and Dave Kahn, and Martin and Trudy Heyman.

    The wives are sisters, and as different as Chardonnay and Thunderbird.

    The frugal Heymans, played by Bill Bilsland and Judy Ball, have taken care of mamma (Tobi Anderson) for years, with Trudy mollycoddling the older women to the point that she uses a walker and has completely withdrawn.

    Their family has suffered. They even blame mamma for their daughter's problems.

    They've had enough, and now they want good old - - and very rich - - Barb (Ann McCabe) and Dave (Doug Sipe) to take their turn.

    Sipe, a New York art dealer, and his spendthrift wife, reluctantly accept, though in reality the task is foisted upon them.

    They're totally unprepared for the intrusion when mother and her walker move in and take over.

    In the second act, two weeks later, Maurice Koenig, a famous 98-year-old artist (Ernie Ingram) is invited to dinner, Mamma, in her robe, would rather pick on Barb's shortcomings than get dressed for the guest.

    While stressed-out Barbara flails about, momma is totally relaxed. "One thing about growing old is that you're less tense about things," she gibes at her daughter.

    Easily the funniest episode in the play, this scene shows momma totally unpredictable, and it's quite a surprise too for the artist, who enters the room at just the right (or wrong) moment.

    But the surprises are just beginning as Sophie's amazing transformation dominates the final scene, completely baffling the two families.

    The success of a show is many times due to the experience of  the directors and this play is no exception.

    Mezera has been directing and performing in Driftwood plays since 1962, two years after the group began. She has more than 15 plays under her belt and directed last season's musical hit "Milk and Honey." After 25 years teaching school in Aberdeen, she has retired. When she's not directing plays, she travels.

    Daniewicz is a charted member of Driftwood; as well known for his acting as for his directing. He won the Driftwood's best actor award for his role of Norman in "On Golden Pond." He is a retired math teacher and lives with his wife at Ocosta.

    Sipe, another charter member, has recently stepped in front of the spotlight after spending years backstage and in set construction. He plays the art dealer to the hilt and seems to be having fun with his character, delivering clever one-liners with well-timed skill.

    Sipe has won the coveted Driftwood service award and was honored for his role in "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum."

    As Sipe's wife, McCabe's idea of fixing things is to write a check. She plays off her zany husband and is a striking contrast to her conservative sister.

    McCabe and her family moved to the Harbor three years ago and immediately became involved in the theater with a role in "Brighton Beach Memoirs." She works backstage on many productions and is a nurse at Grays Harbor Community Hospital.

    Ball, a veteran actress, plays the uptight sister who has sacrificed her own pleasures to take care of mother. She is extremely funny in her portrayal of  the unchanging Trudy Heyman. It's hard to feel sorry for her because she is constantly heaping guilt on others.

    Bilsland is believable as Martin Heyman, the henpecked, structured accountant who has little love for his sister-in-law, though it's usually Trudy who registers the displeasure over momma.

    Bilsland, Driftwood's immediate past president, has been involved in the theater since 1982, playing a variety of roles. He is a retired school teacher who lives in Elma with his wife.

    From the moment she plods on stage with her walker, Tobi Anderson captivates the audience. Through the expert makeup artistry of Margaret Tingwall and Mae Brook, Anderson appears initially as a frail women, approaching 100, and later as a sprightly senior citizen enjoying life to its fullest.

    Anderson has been a Driftwood member for 18 years, primarily behind the curtain. Her first stage role was in "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum." Her next role was Clara Weiss in "Milk and Honey." She was named best supporting actress for both roles.

    Ingram's appearance as the 98-year-old artist very much in love with life may be a short one, but it's charming, too.

    As a seasoned Driftwood veteran, he consistently brings energy and enthusiasm to his roles.

    While Ingram's acting stands on its own merits, his role as Maurice Koenig is made more believable through the efforts of the makeup crew.

    Ingram is probably best remembered for his creation of Scrooge in "The Christmas Carol," and last season's one-man show depicting Sam Benn.

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