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Mondays with Morrie

The amazing play, Tuesdays with Morrie, was brought to SHA!

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The audience on stage with the cast of Tuesdays with Morrie! (from left: Ferraiolo, Mahar)

The audience on stage with the cast of Tuesdays with Morrie (from left: Ferraiolo, Mahar)

It was a surprisingly warm November night outside the cozy auditorium. There was a buzz in the air as the members of the audience talked among themselves, anticipating the upcoming performance. Then, the lights went dim, and a hush fell over the crowd: the play was about to begin.

Was this some posh off-Broadway theater in New York? Some bohemian performing arts venue in London? Neither: it was Sacred Heart Academy’s lecture hall, and the play was Tuesdays with Morrie, performed by the Theatre Mania on Monday, November 24th.

A text read by senior Theology and English classes, Tuesdays with Morrie, was originally a memoir written by sportswriter Mitch Albom about him reconnecting with his beloved college professor, Morrie Schwartz (played by Sean Mahar), as Schwartz is dying from ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease). Schwartz, even in the face of death, teaches Albom (played by Dan Ferraiolo) a new life lesson each Tuesday. The story resonated with many people, as shown by its commercial success: it topped the New York Times Non-Fiction Bestsellers List in 2000, was adapted into a terrific made-for-TV movie with Oprah’s blessing, and is now an incredibly heart-wrenching play.

“I saw this when they performed it for Yale several months ago, and became completely obsessed with bringing the story here for our students,” said Mrs. Delaney. “With Mrs. Mazz, we were able to sponsor this event with the blessing of Sister Shelia and Sister Maureen.”

Ferraiolo and Tuesdays‘ director, Margi Mahar, together run the theater department at West Haven High School. Ferraiolo is their former student, “which compounds the intensity of the performance,” said Mrs. Delaney.

At first glance, Tuesdays looks like nothing special: it is performed by two actors with a sparse set. Yet this simplicity lets the beauty of the script and the strength of the actors shine. The actors were truly strong: Mahar and Ferraiolo were in perfect sync with each other. Schwartz jokingly derides Albom’s business-oriented lifestyle and mentors him towards a life of love, and Albom becomes incessantly concerned for Schwartz’s well-being while treating him like an old pal.

“Heart-wrenching” is not strong enough to describe the emotional roller coaster that was the play. Albom and Schwartz’s witty banter has you laughing one minute, and Schwartz’s bravery in the face of death has you crying the next. Albom and Schwartz’s final Tuesday together had this reporter’s stoic, college freshman boyfriend sobbing. But the serious scenes are always interrupted with Schwartz’s resilient humor, drying the audience’s tears.

Tuesdays with Morrie is a truly beautiful play, and it was an amazing treat to see it at Sacred Heart. Many thanks to Theatre Mania for the amazing performance and to Mrs. Mazz and Mrs. Delaney for bringing the play to us!

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1 Comment

One Response to “Mondays with Morrie”

  1. Sean Maher on December 16th, 2014 6:49 pm

    Truly our pleasure to bring Morrie & Mitch to SHA. It is a labor of love for all of us.

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Mondays with Morrie