Senior Kiss: Stanley Dyrector
“Gimme a little kiss, will ‘ya’, huh?
What are you gonna miss, will ya, huh?
Gosh, oh, gee, why do you refuse?
I can’t see what you gotta lose
Oh, gimme a little squeeze, will ‘ya’, huh?
Why do you wanna make me blue?
I wouldn’t say a word if I were asking for the world
But what’s a little kiss between a fellow and his girl?
Oh, gimme a little kiss, will ‘ya’, huh?
And I’ll give it right back to you”
Steve and Abby have been friends for a long time and as the scene opens you meet them after dropping off their respective spouses in front of a movie theater waiting on line. Steve and Abby banter back and forth about an old relationship and old feelings as all Steve wants is one little Kiss from Abby: Will ya huh? Well things get heated and the conversation gets interesting as both plead their cases. Him to get want he wants and Abby for why that’s not going to happen. Remembering a dance from over 35 years ago brings to light a song titled: Brand New by the Stylistics. Steve professes his feelings for Abby and she tells him he is “ridiculous and we’re seniors.” To those people over 50 it is never too late to indulge and never think that your libido is dead! The conversation gets personal, she reminds them that they are married but attracted to each other in different ways. But, Steve’s behavior is like a teen who has fallen for someone for the first time and Abby keeps reminding him that he’s married to Peggy. The banter continues and the he explains how they can call it even. It’s hilarious.
As Abby reminds Steve of her feelings for Phil and then adds in her kids and grandkids, Steve explains in one simple line that I can picture either Jack Lemmon or Cary Grant saying if they were to play the part, “ Lady, you want a kiss, you need love, You need affection.” Wanna know what you says you gotta read it to believe it yourself!
Along comes Phil who’s panicking that he can’t find Abby and the real fun begins. As Peggy and Phil now take center state and the dialogue revolves around where Abby might have been, breaking the law to use his handicap spot and his feelings about other races. Phil, played by Ed Asner, as no one else except the original Archie Bunker could, portrays the perfect bigot, opinionated, hardheaded man who has something to say about just about anyone and anything. Hard of hearing so sometimes what he hears is not what is said, the discussion centers around doctors that are gay, religion, football teams and boxing champs. Friends that they find annoying, Phil’s opinion of them, grandchildren and of course the most important part of any evening after the movie: WHERE TO EAT, which sparked a discussion that was hysterical. But, first each one talks about their jobs, miscalculations, mistakes that Peggy catches when shopping, and then Phil chimes in out of nowhere that he wants to eat at Steinberg’s Dairy Restaurant. But, since, it is the Sabbath well poor Phil pick another one but not before he tells everyone to keep it quiet that they are Kosher and that the enemy is lurking while staring at those on line waiting along with them for the movie. Pointing out those he feels are bigots or even a Scientologist. But, things get out of hand when they talk about restaurants, eating Chinese or as Phil calls it Chinx and eating more American or patriotic. I can see and hear Archie saying that to Edith, Gloria and Meathead. As Abby defends the Chinese, Phil recites part of our National Anthem. Changing gears to Mexican, adding in his own opinions, and then Delis which sets off a chain reaction that causes Phil to yell Stop: forget Matzoh’s and his paranoia shines through as he things The Usual Suspects are right there on line with them. The conversation continues about different foods, races, baseball teams and people he claims are bigots. Added in we have Roosevelt, the Marshall Plan and finally the advantages of being a senior when dining out! But, the heart of the discussion goes to The Shmarnegie Deli whose quality of food had slipped as Phil says: Doesn’t got the crispy crunchy rye bread they used to have anymore. Steve’s comments only egg him on and he adds his own take comparing this atrocity to Brutus killing Caesar. But, the rest you have to read for yourself as the discussion wavers in different directions from who eats at Plotker’s to insults about each other’s careers. But, the final assessment is well read page 24 and find out the real problem with Delis as the movie is about to begin and then we find Steve and Abby alone once more and he picks up where he left off. Banter, questions, push comes to shove and then Steve finds himself presenting his case to Abby as if he were on the stand trying to convince her that he’s telling the truth. So, does she go along with what he wants? What about Phil and Peggy? Why doe Steve feel Peggy does not need him even they you know she does? “Gimme a little kiss, will ‘ya’, huh?
What are you gonna miss, will ya, huh?” Will she give it right back to him or will he finally take no for an answer? Only author, screenwriter, actor and writer Stanley Dyrector can deliver a play so filled with humor, sarcasm, true to life and tests the loyalty, friendship and sanctity of marriage and proves: YOU ARE NEVER TOO OLD FOR L O V E.
Phil the bigot, Abby’s common sense, a sense of humor, Steve’s relentlessness and never giving up and Peggy steadfast and real: Four characters each delivering their own brand of humor, love for their spouse and each quite unique as the curtain comes down on Senior Kiss but not before you listen to this great song. The next time you want to be romantic with your husband or wife of many years play this song and know: Seniors still got!
Fran Lewis: just my thoughts