By Austin Kaiser
Mindy Fradkin wants older people to feel confident and shrug off discouraging remarks they may hear about aging. When Mindy applied for a job, a man at the counter said that the “help wanted” sign was actually put up by accident. As Mindy left church, a woman saw Mindy’s pigtails and said, “Pigtails are for little girls, not women.” This show is about what it’s like to be judged for your age rather than your character. You’ll learn about the Silver Sneakers, an organization that helps senior citizens get gym memberships; The Smile Revolution, Mindy’s movement to remind people that smiling is both the cause and the result of happiness; and you’ll meet Roland Mousaa, Mindy’s ex-husband, a guitarist who strums along to Mindy’s occasional musical interludes and whom she calls her “wasband.”
The performance is a slideshow presentation with anecdotes, informational tidbits, and musical interludes. Seeing “Ageless Wonders” is like visiting a highly-colorful, extravagant friend for tea. Expect laughs.
Mindy speaks as herself. Occasionally she gets lost on a tangent and says, “Anyways, where was I?” This felt appropriate. She prattles in an enjoyable way, and is calm and charming. Every story, positive and negative, is shared with a lighthearted attitude. When an old friend said to Mindy, “You look the same as you did twenty years ago,” Mindy replied, “Have you seen my neck? That’s why I wear a scarf.” She pulled her scarf down and tugged at her neck skin. That line got laughs from the audience. I have a feeling that Mindy, despite the scarf, is secure with herself and her journey. She looks relaxed on stage. That made it easy for us to relax.
Most of the show’s wisdom is along the lines of “confidence has no age.” There is rich discussion to be had about aging, so a little more philosophy would be appreciated. But I walked away feeling good. Many older people want this sort of discussion and there is not enough of it. So Mindy and her enthusiasm are welcome. Her writing is good. Its relevance makes it great.
The message of the show is “be yourself even if the world treats you like someone else.” I recommend “Ageless Wonders” to people who want to think positively about aging. I enjoyed Mindy explaining the mental hurdle of “going gray,” i.e. letting your gray hair grow out visibly instead of keeping it hidden under wigs or dyes. Mindy said that she went gray for three months and had blooming roots. Unfortunately, when she traveled to LA, the youth-centric atmosphere zapped Mindy’s confidence, so she dyed her young strands. “Maybe one day I’ll go gray. Or, actually, lavender. That’s an easier step to take,” she said with a laugh.
“Ageless Wonders: A Grown up kids Guide to Growing UP”
Written and Performed by Mindy Fradkin
Sept. 26 at 3:30pm, Oct. 6 at 4pm, Nov. 10 at 2pm
Developer and Director: Jessica Lynn Johnson
Co-Lyricist, Music, Guitar: Roland Mousaa
Stage Manager: Matt Mitchell
Lights and Sound: Ronny Pascale
Show image by Philip Seltzer: courtesy of the production
United Solo 2018
410 West 42nd Street
New York City
AUSTIN KAISER is a writer with an expertise in art and the creative process. His writing is about improving your imagination and exercising your empathy muscle. Kaiser is currently writing a book called, “100 Questions Every Artist Should Have The Answers To.” His other book, “How To Go Viral & Put Wings On Ideas: A Book For Content Creators & Young Artists,” explains how ideas travel and which ideas travel best. More at www.medium.com/@KaiserMane.