Shalom Life | July 01, 2014

Charlie Varon Brings ‘Feisty Old Jew’ to the Stage

Varon plays Bernie, an 83 year old described as "an octogenarian Curious George"

By: Ashley Ramnarain

Published: February 7th, 2014 in Culture » Stage » News

Charlie Varon gives everyone a look into his inner grumpy Jew this week in his newest show Feisty Old Jew. Varon describes Bernie, the main character, as, “a smart, feisty old character who gets free of the confines of the retirement home and winds up someplace he shouldn’t be. He’s sort of an octogenarian Curious George.” That would probably explain why eighty-three-year-old Bernie ends up betting a group of San Francisco techies that he could surf perfectly on his first try.

Being only 55, Bernie could simply be an older version of Charlie Varon himself. However, Varon insists that is not the case.

“I hope not. Although I love his vitality. Of all the characters I’ve written and performed, I feel filled with energy when I take him on. his restless spirit keeps him going – and the fact that he’s always working an angle,” he explained.

Feisty Old Jew uses no lightning, sound effects, costumes or props – only relying on the simple raw storytelling.

“Sound, lighting and tech theatre stuff would pull out out of the story,” argues Varon, “I focus on the simplicity of the narrator audience relationship.”

Much like his character, Varon moved from New York to San Francisco, adapting to the bohemian traditions of the city. In addition, he also interviewed multiple Jewish seniors in order to better grasp the character of Bernie.

“I don’t think I’m as angry as Bernie, but certainly I see where he’s coming from. I’ve lived here 35 years. I know people who are benefiting from the tech boom and people hurt by the tech boom. In this show, people who see the city very differently wind up in the same car,” Charlie Varon comments.

This upcoming one-man show, Feisty Old Jew, premieres on Saturday, February 8th and runs until March 16th at the Marsh in San Francisco.

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