“The Actual Dance” final New York showing before the national tour
review by Inola M. McGuire
This stage play, a one-man show, was written and performed by the Samuel Simon; and it was directed by Kate Holland. The monologue was directed to the audience about the journey this husband had walked with his wife, Susan, before and after her bout with breast cancer. The themes in the play are all about the roles of caregivers and the stand by your spouse for better or worst vow when there is a medical crisis. In today’s society, not too many spouses stay with their wives when they are diagnosed with cancer. This man has demonstrated enough strength for ten men in his story. The life story of Mr. Simon and his wife, Susan, was well documented in the program’ but hearing him speak and telling his story in a warm and personal fashion added a special feel to his performance. He has taken his experience and uses it as a learning tool for the world to gain an insight into his sphere with ease and humility. His determination to share this story has been very therapeutic Mr. Simon traced his family tree and that of his wife’s family with cancer on stage. He was very charming in his delivery of the subject matter of cancer, as he combined everything to an orchestra, the ballroom, the guest of the dance, and the love of the dance. This analogy helped me and the audience to understand its purpose. However, he mentioned that the dancers were the only ones who recognized the song. One of his most touching comments on stage was when Mr. Simon made reference to the non-existence of the orchestra before it is assembled with the musicians after they are called to play. His delivery made it possible for the audience to connect with his personal story because he was committed to stay with his wife after he experienced an outer-body experience in the doctor’s office. In the year 2000 was the turning point in his marriage.
Mr. Simon made reference of Dr. Happy, his wife’s surgeon, and how he had to familiarize himself with being the supporter of his wife. By this time, their friends and members of their families knew all about Susan’s situation. He claimed he was by himself in the center of the dance floor for weeks while his wife was undergoing chemo therapy. The actual dance is the consummation of their love. He was by her side for each hospital stay and doctor’s appointments.Being a caregiver for his wife was a new experience because he had not really participated in the changing of diapers when his children were babies. He rose to the occasion during his wife’s illness, and he can attest to the journey that many caregivers had traveled before his incident. Most of the time, caregivers are taken for granted and Mr. Simon’s first-hand experience with his Rabbi spoke volume to the audience. People who we expect to be sympathetic are somewhat insensitive when they are needed at the spur of the moment. Today, Susan Simon is still alive and the couple is looking forward to celebrate its 50th wedding anniversary next year, 2016.