There is little new about the concept of “Old Business,” written and directed by Joe Cacaci. The battles between youth and old age, success and failure, and pride and stubbornness are age-old concerns. But the pure enthusiasm of the performers thrills.
Originally produced in New York by Joseph Papp, “Old Business” is the story of real estate giant Abe Fleisher (Harold Gould), who’s reluctantly planning his retirement for health reasons, and his son, David (Alan Rosenberg), who plans to step into his father’s shoes.
At first glance, this appears to be a story about the boredom of aging, but at closer look, it’s also a story about the unsettled business in families.
The two-character work is very much an actor’s play, filled with long, delicious monologues. However, these soliloquies, disguised as phone conversations with various unseen characters, teeter between entertainment and languor; some of Gould’s dialogue segues into long, unevenly paced reveries.
Gould and Rosenberg give poignant performances. When Gould moves and talks slowly, and Rosenberg enters talking fast and anxious, they demonstrate contrasts between young and old.
The actors are assisted by plenty of props, and set designer Richard Meyer’s meticulously correct set and dramatic lighting.