I never thought I’d talk about getting old. I listened to my parents talk about their aches and pains, emotionally and physically, as if it were a pastime. And I’d think “how boring and totally unfunny.” I didn’t think it applied to me -- or would ever apply to me. Until it actually did apply to me. And now that my years are accumulating, “getting old” is a go-to topic.
Especially with those I’ve known for twenty years -- even that is unfathomable -- we linger on the days of our youth: when our hamstrings didn’t resist as much; when our hang-ups didn’t consist of hanging skin; when our outlook was “can-do” instead of “can-do conditional.”
As actors, our main concern was getting into SAG, not getting rid of sag.
Whoever made up “you’re only as old as you feel” is dead. So obviously the aphorism isn’t exactly a truism.
From spending so much time at the dog park, I’ve concluded that human behavior can be boiled down to territorialism. We don’t want to give it up. Whether it be our beliefs, our land, or just our own. And so we piss on things to make more “our own.” More work to get more stuff, more friends to increase our tribe, more ways to spread “our own.”
Now I’m thinking that maybe people behave the way they do to avoid getting old. They do a bad deed that directly affects someone else. That causes pain and suffering for that person, causing him to age. His assailant, whether it be spreading a lie or stealing, by virtue of committing this act, acquires a release for his own pain and suffering, which in turn provides desensitization from future pain and suffering afflicted unto him. Thus he slows his aging process. Or so he thinks.
The nexus of committing no-good lies in the imagined avoidance of aging!
Put it upon another to save yourself.
A fanciful fling on getting old is the basis for Wrinkles, a new play at East West Players. It’s about a man in his seventies (which isn’t that old anymore -- my parents are in their seventies and still are more active than I am and on a daily basis) who invigorates his life and the lives of those who pay to watch his sex videos. He’s a big hit in Japan. Granny banging is hot in retirement homes. He’s defying getting old by defying society mores and notions, not by being mean.
It’s a funny idea, brought to life by Paul Kikuchi in his second main stage production. And there are some witty lines and funny moments.
I think we’re wired to need structure and journey. We want to know where we’re going and the steps that we take to get there -- like a young guy listening to his parents talk and then aging himself and finally realizing that that perceived boring talk are now aspects of his life. Beg/Mid/End is more the structure of storytelling; it’s the structure of our lives.
The structure of Wrinkles dealt with an ancillary problem rather than the crux -- I wanted to know more of the journey the grandfather took to being a sex star than the side problems that arise.
It certainly is a funny premise, though, and further adventures would bring hilarity. Amy Hill, Sab Shimono, Elizabeth Ho, and Ki Hong Lee have funny moments.
A wise choice for this season by artistic director Tim Dang to cater to the older Little Tokyo and subscriber crowd. EWP is in the midst of an adventurous, ambitious year of shows that takes the theater in an exciting direction.
The audience cheered opening night and hopefully Wrinkles will get people, whether young and old, talking and listening about getting old, with humor.
The previous issue of Hyphen is available in its entirety for your perusing pleasure. Almost as good as having it right in your hands!