"The play was a qualified success. The audiences loved it; the critics had reservations. The Center members, bused in for a benefit performance, took over as usual. Jennie informed one of the wealthy patrons in the front row that he should change seats with her. It was wrong that the Center members were given seats farther back, with their problems in hearing and seeing. He agreed with some embarrassment and soon the first few rows of patrons had been replaced by the elders. As soon as the play began, Bessie shouted to the actors that she couldn't hear them. 'Speak up. We don't hear so good.' 'Good,' echoed John Hirsch, the director. 'It's what I've been telling them all along.' After intermission, the sound of crackling cellophane was heard from all over the theater. The elders had … brought along extra lox and bagels for a snack later in the day. They unpacked their leftovers, and the theater was pervaded with the unmistakable smell of fish. The play continued with a heightened atmosphere of realism….
The Center elders argued all the way home on the bus as to whether the representation had been faithful to them. 'We don't really argue that much, do we?' 'Some would say yes, some would say no…."
1. Barbara, Myerhoff, "Surviving Stories," Remembered Lives: the Work of Ritual, Storytelling, and Growing Older, ed. Marc Kaminsky (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1992) 287-8.