Just in case you haven’t heard, at 7:00 pm on June 4, you can watch The Death of Social Security at the cinema for free. Get it? Is free! Why? Because we like you.
The Death of Welfare Benefits is an original play written after attending a Broadway slapstick comedy and a subsequent discussion with an older actress who complained that her roles were only for grandmothers. Hearing the call, this playwright set out to play three juicy roles. Two for older characters over 75 and one for over fifty-five.
Of course, the age of the actors can be any, chosen by the director in accordance with the theme. Thus, this is not a typical game of twenty-thirty-year-old actors. In this he is unusual.
“The Death of Social Security Benefit” follows Shirley and Jack as they live as friends in a retirement community. They share the costs. It occurs to Shirley that if he dies, the utilities won’t be paid because his Social Security check will stop coming. If they get married, she will be able to receive the widow’s allowance. After a heated argument, she convinces him to marry her. Regrets set in for Jack. She treats him like an annoying wife! Not to mention, she has an incredibly annoying voice! Jack then learns that they must be married for nine months or the benefits will not come as she expected. In fact, Jack is not feeling very well. They argue and Jack Katz wishes himself dead and dies. He takes a Polaroid of his last breath. Shirley remembers that she invited her former stepson Jack to visit, and he is standing at the door! She has a crazy idea to make sure that Jack is still alive for his former adopted son and for the welfare office.
This is a fun game full of madness. Excellent performance by veteran actor Don Breakman as Jack Katz. With additional acting by Greg Gonzalez. Jr. and Sarah McCullough. Raymond Gomez directed this new play. Scott Yarbrough with his technical genius and my determination turned this into a film.
At the time of this writing, the play ranks among the top comedy festivals. Wish us luck to make it to the top four.
Sylvia Gonzalez Scherer is Executive Artistic Director of the Hanford Multicultural Theater Company.