|Elijah Jefferson and Steve Shaffer|
Two years of writing and dozens of revisions later, the story for “The Old Guy” first came to Johnson during a vacation in Texas in 2011. “The idea of the aging process and impending retirement made me reassess my entire outlook on where I was in my life. I’ve never felt “old” and so the idea of “acting my age” really started to hit home. All of a sudden the saying ‘You’re only as old as you feel’ became much more than just a cliché, it became a way of life.” Johnson brought in long-time friend and professional actor Steve Shaffer as part of the project. Shaffer, a Cedar Rapids native and current resident of St. Louis Park, Minnesota, first worked with Johnson at The Old Creamery Theatre Company in Garrison in 1974. The 39-year history between the two theatre professionals brings a very special working relationship into the rehearsal process. “Tom is very open to our ideas and feedback as we work on the script which creates a very interactive process for all of the actors in this production. It’s been fun to work with Tom as the playwright and create one of his characters for this new show. You want to be sure that the character you put together matches up with the person he created in his mind.” Shaffer plays the title role of “The Old Guy” and is joined by ITAC veteran performers, Meg Merckens (South Amana) and Marshall Nielsen (Cedar Falls) along with 11-year old Elijah Jefferson (Amana) making his stage debut in the role of “the Kid.”
The story centers around a reclusive, out-of-work auto mechanic who rediscovers his own worth and purpose when he comes to the aid of a young student who hopes to take “a trip of a lifetime.” With the challenges of a bothersome neighbor and a less-than-honest businessman in the mix, and the barrier of age discrimination to overcome, the “Old Guy” must discover what only he can do to help his young friend realize his dream while in the process, creating a dream of his own.
Performances are Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 pm and Saturdays and Sundays at 2:30 pm. Reservations are strongly encouraged in the intimate seating of the 99-seat theatre. Ticket prices are $22.50 for Adults and $10 for Students. Information about ITAC and its production of "The Old Guy" can be found by visiting the theatre website: www.iowatheatreartists.org. The Iowa Theatre Artists Company is a small not-for-profit theatre and is a member of the Actors' Equity Association, the professional organization of actors and stage managers in the United States. The theatre is located on the upper level of what was once the Amana Barn Restaurant."
(Source: ITAC Press Release)