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‘ALIGNMENT’ Premieres At BESC Wednesday

on September 17, 2019 - 11:48am

Local Playwright Robert Benjamin

Theater News:

Los Alamos Living Treasure Robert Benjamin is at it again with his plays for the people.

The Sept. 18 performance is 12:45 p.m. at the Betty Ehart Center, followed by an Oct. 3 performance at 12:45 p.m. at the White Rock Senior Center.

“ALIGNMENT” is a new 10-minute comedy about “aging” by Benjamin and performed by Pat Beck and Kelly Dolejsi. When her old car needs repairs, the mechanic offers her options to align the car’s front-end, but are these repairs affordable and is it worth the effort? Who is the mysterious mechanic, anyway?

The presentation is free, and a discussion and refreshments follow the performance.

Benjamin has been involved in theater since high school, inspired by his 11th-grade English teacher. He loved attending live theater and started to think about it as a post-retirement avocation.

“I felt attracted to writing because playwriting is among the most difficult forms of writing,” Benjamin said. “It appeals to me, as I enjoy grappling with really tough tasks.”

Those tough tasks have been happening for 15 years at senior venues, when Benjamin was a newly minted retiree from the laboratory and sought out astute audiences. He feels seniors provide a great audience for live theater and appreciate the conventions of live drama. He also finds that they are generous with their opinions. The partnership provides great conversation-starters and gives him valued feedback for improvements.   

A fond moment for the playwright took place at the start of a short play in Albuquerque.

“I encountered an elderly, wheelchair-bound woman dressed in a magnificent, lavender silk dress,” Benjamin said. “I asked who was her special visitor today for whom she's dressed so beautifully? She responded, ‘I always dress for theater.’" Those moments given to audiences are memories that can fuel passion.

Benjamin knows that live theater can serve the community of seniors as well as the general public, by starting important conversations about aging in our culture, where growing older is not looked upon favorably.

He writes plays that might be seen as, “gently provocative”. He uses humor, characters and plots in order to spark conversation, and entertain. 

“En route to this style of playwriting, I learned that many skills and attitudes I honed for physics research did crossover well into the realm of theater,” Benjamin said.

His examples include curiosity, tolerance for failure and persistence.