It’s Now or Never: My Life in the Middle Ages - Judah Leblang
Reviewed By Bob Evans
Middle Ages takes on alternate meeting at Fringe
“It’s now or never” elicits memories of a hip-gyrating Elvis Presley, but in the 2021 Kansas City Fringe Festival, it means a show about how to navigate the fact that ageing gracefully is anything but graceful–it’s humorous.
As a comic storyteller, author/performer Judah Leblang tells the stories about the reality he faces at 60 years old. The notion that he somehow passed the median point of life escaped him until he realized the hour-glass sand running out.
Stories about his advancing age, health, sexual encounters, and personal goals declined from the more vital days of youth. As a writer and storyteller, he needed to stop writing and personally share his stories with live performances for audiences. He explains his anxious feelings of an upcoming show, only to find an audience of three.
Leblang’s show differs from a standup comic’s delivery in that “It’s Now or Never: My Life in the Middle Ages” conveys longer stories with humor. With his background in writing, he switched from print media to live performance and built connections with live audiences.
Some of the stories include hearing loss, romantic encounter, sleep apnea, sleep apnea machines, building audiences, and the daily awareness of his past and present. All present dark memories, but with Leblang’s spin, they create smiles.
A live delivery of the show and a live audience would definitely help this piece draw larger audiences. The show entertains, but suffers by not connecting with a live audience. The first segment of the show features the actor standing and looking somewhat down and not looking into the camera. When the performer sits and looks toward his audience (and camera) the connection with the video works better. Throughout the video, the stories remain strong, and the overall performance remains strong.
The video, “It’s Now or Never: My Life in the Middle Ages” allows viewers past 40 to reflect on the adage that “Life begins at 40,” in preparation for their personal journey into the middle ages. To learn more, check out the video offered through the 2021 Kansas City Fringe Festival.