Tuesdays with Morrie shows you how to emerge stronger
The Singapore Repertory Theatre’s (SRT) latest theatre production, Tuesdays with Morrie, is a coup of sorts for theatre-lovers. It is the first theatre show to be staged onsite and in front of a live audience since theatre companies had to close their doors earlier this year due to the pandemic. Not surprisingly, the show, which runs until 11 Dec, has sold-out.
The play is based on a memoir by Mitch Albom. It recounts the lessons Albom learnt from his college professor Morrie Schwartz as the latter battled amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, a degenerative and incurable disease commonly known as ALS.
The staging of this play, and in this time, means a lot to the actors Benjamin Chow and Ramesh Panicker, who are finally back on stage after months of forced hiatus.
Chow says: “When Circuit Breaker started, I lost most of my shows, so I went to work at NTUC Fairprice. I figured, why not lean into an essential service? I am just grateful that I am now able to find work in the arts once again. It is really a blessing and a privilege.”
He adds that although 25 years have passed since the death of Schwartz, the “little wisdoms and sprinkling of revelation” in the story continue to remain relevant to lives today.
In the spirit of sharing life lessons, we invited Panicker and Chow to share poignant life lessons they learnt from this year, and from working on Tuesdays with Morrie.
What is a life lesson you learnt this year?
Panicker: Life is fragile. Life is precious. Life is to be lived, not watched from the sidelines as it passes by. And life will invariably go on with or without you.
Chow: Everything is precious, and all we ever have, really, is now. So I must always try to make the “now” that I am living in as wonderful and as loving as it can be, for myself, and for everyone I am with.
Which moment in the play resonates with you deeply?
Panicker: Schwartz lived to connect with people, and to teach. He is unabashedly unafraid. of human emotions. And he died as he lived – positively. The moment that resonates with me most is when he says, as he is close to death, “forgive everyone everything.”
Chow: My favourite lines in the play have to do with forgiveness and the idea that we are all human, learning, growing, making mistakes and trying to find peace. Forgiveness is such a big part of what it means to love, and loving is a such a big part of what it means to be human.
What would you say to someone trying to seize the day and make the most of the last weeks of 2020?
Panicker: Be nice to people – friends, family and strangers.
Chow: The dreary year is lifting! Come join us at the theatre! And also, ice cream is great and you should get some for yourself. Right now. Do it. Carpe Diem.
Replies have been edited for clarity.
Learn more about Tuesdays with Morrie here.