Bob Struckman (seated) and prodigal Eastern Sierra son Marcus Nobreus enjoy spending “Tuesdays With Morrie.” (Photo: Lunch)
Just when you think you’ve seen the last of him, Marcus Nobreus reappears in the Eastern Sierra for another curtain call.
And for the next four weeks, he will be sharing a stage with Paradise resident Bob Struckman as the two perform Mitch Albom’s “Tuesdays With Morrie” in Bishop, Mill Creek and Mammoth.
“Tuesdays With Morrie” is the tale of Albom’s reconnection with his former Sociology professor Morrie Schwartz as Schwartz is dying from Lou Gehrig’s disease (ALS).
Albom, a successful sportswriter, had not spoken with Schwartz since his graduation from Brandeis University, but contacted him after seeing a Ted Koppel interview with Schwartz on Nightline.
The 1997 book ultimately topped the New York Times bestseller list for non-fiction in 2000.
The play, co-written by Albom and Jeffrey Hatcher, debuted off-Broadway in 2002.
A film version was also made starring Jack Lemmon (in his final role) and Hank Azaria.
As Struckman says, he was approached by Producer Eva Poole-Gilson about doing the show late last fall. Though he was not familiar with “Tuesdays,” Struckman was struck by the similiarities between he and Schwartz as he read the play. Not only are both in the same age range (Struckman is 75. Schwartz was 79 when he died), both were also longtime college professors (Struckman taught philosophy at City College in San Francisco).
Formerly a resident of the Eastern Sierra, Nobreus, who plays the Albom character, moved back to his native Sweden in 2010. He now runs a Farmer’s Market in his hometown of Hoganas.
Nevertheless, he calls the Eastern Sierra his “spiritual home” and is always looking for an excuse to return. Which is why he is back for six weeks this winter to do the show.
Once Struckman signed on, the two actors began running lines via Skype. Due to the time difference, it would be noon Struckman’s time and 9 p.m. in Sweden when they would rehearse.
As Marcus would just be returning home from a long day of work, the timing posed some challenges. “I’d be saying a line and I’d hear the clatter of a spoon,” joked Struckman, as his co-star ran lines and ate dinner at the same time.
As Struckman said, the dramatic development in the play is in the Mitch Albom character, a career-obsessed sportswriter who’s trying to gain a better life perspective.
Nobreus added that, “The most miserable of Morrie’s visitors (referenced but not seen in the play) had the most money.” So one of the key messages of the play is timeless: money can’t buy happiness.
A New York Times review of “Tuesdays” when it initially opened said the play made the “language of the book crisper, cleverer and more palatable … aphoristic wisdom, expressed with gallows wit.”
“Tuesdays With Morrie” opened Feb. 25 at the Inyo Council for the Arts theater, located at 137 Main Street in Bishop. Remaining show dates and locations are as follows (evening shows @ 7 p.m. and Sunday matinees @ 3 p.m.)
March 1-4 and March 8-11 @ Mill Creek Station
March 15-18 @ Edison Theatre in Mammoth.
Tickets are $15 for adults and $12 for youth/seniors. Call 760.872.2446 for tickets/infornation.