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Andrew Bergman's "Social Security"

By April 18, 2011

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They say that social security is on the verge of falling apart, that it won't be around for future generations, that it will soon be out of date. Can the same be said for Social Security, a comedy written in the 1980s? Is it an almost forgotten comedy gem, or simply out-of-date?

In the midst of writing Hollywood screenplays (including some of my favorites such as Chevy Chase's Fletch), scriptwriter Andrew Bergman also wrote a stage play called Social Security that is an interesting combination of risque humor and sentimentalism. I watched it for the first time last weekend, and thought it was sweet, very funny at times, and yet it by the end of the play there seemed to be little substance. Maybe that's because I was expecting something along the lines of On Golden Pond, and maybe because certain plays from this era (such as The Nerd) almost feel like they are filled with lines one expects to hear television sitcom.

Petty criticism aside, Social Security is worthy of revivals if only because of the hysterically down-to-earth, sour-ball-spitting mother, Sophie Greengrass. There aren't enough good roles for women over the age of 65; that's why it was refreshing to see a wonderful actress taking on the role of this feisty senior citizen who rediscovers her womanhood. I just wish Sophie had more stage time!

Social Security is available through Samuel French.


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