Among the many ways that Arizona Senior Academy members continue to enrich their lives and those of the greater Tucson community is by exploring theatrical pursuits and performing play readings at the ASA. Participants have included those with backgrounds in theater as well as those who are discovering the joys of play reading for the first time.
Come to the ASA Great Room at 4:00 p.m. on Friday (March 23) for a reading of David Mamet’s comedy, The Duck Variations, directed by recently arrived Academy Village resident Ron Danko and featuring Danko and fellow Villager Marty Nitzberg.
Danko brings a wealth of experience in theater to the ASA, having directed, adapted and acted in over 100 productions in California, Oregon, Colorado and Montana. He was the founding artistic director of the first Montana Shakespeare Festival in Kalispell, Mont., and of the Western Stage in Salinas, Calif. He directed the first production of Of Mice and Men performed at the International Steinbeck Festival in Steinbeck’s hometown of Salinas. One of Danko’s favorite directorial assignments was Man of La Mancha, where he met his wife Aurelie.
First performed in 1972, The Duck Variations features two old men, Emil Varec and George Aronovitz, sitting on a park bench while watching ducks in the lake. They proceed to talk to and sometimes at each other, in a series of 14 Variations on the theme of ducks. As their dialogue unfolds, they discuss, argue, pontificate, philosophize and emote about the lives of ducks, and it becomes evident that the ducks serve essentially as a metaphor for their own fears about aging and death.
And yet the play is a comedy. It has been compared to Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot, resembling an extended vaudeville sketch with the two players trading the roles of straight man and comedic clown.
Written by Leslie Nitzberg, Academy Village Volunteer