! Life is a banquet and most poor suckers are starving to death!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008


Reprinted with express permission of The Towne Crier email comments or questions to:



By Jonathan Fox
The Towne Crier

The Tusten Theatre in Narrowsburg, NY is a charming venue nestled in the Catskills and apparently produces a variety of interesting and thought-provoking productions in association with the Delaware Valley Arts Alliance.

Last nights performance of “Two Men Talking” was certainly no exception. The authors, Paul Browde, MD and Murray Nossel, PHD are not actors, nor is the non-scripted production a play, per se. The gentlemen - and the production are nonetheless highly entertaining, thought provoking, often very amusing and theatrical and the audience arrived in droves, during a torrential downpour, no less, to show their enthusiastic support.

This “Performance Piece” is unusual in many respects- there are no sets nor props, the “staging” is non-existent and yet the mood created by these two men, alone on a bare stage is both moving and inspiring.

Paul Browde is a psychiatrist in private practice in New York City and Murray Nossel is an Academy Award nominated documentary film maker and practiced as a clinical psychologist in their native South Africa.

These men are both adept at story telling and their personal stories have intertwined in fascinating ways over the span of two decades. While no two performances are exactly alike, like snow flakes, they are each unique and beautiful and they weave their spell over the audience each night in different ways.

From their boyhood meeting as privileged, white upper-class South African Jews- to their adult lives - which take many twists and turns over the years as gay men dealing with the issues of Apartheid, AIDS, family and friends, their tales range from charming to alarming in the blink of an eye, the whole while captivating the audience with their wit, intelligence and panache.

From the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem to the streets of London to the decadent decade of “Sex, drugs and Rock ‘n Roll” in San Francisco, their stories are infused with humor, pathos and entertaining anecdotes that kept the audience mesmerized for 75 minutes or so, with no intermission.

An informal “question and answer” mini-event was held after the performance and surprisingly, the vast majority of theatergoers stayed in their seats for an opportunity to ask some probing and thoughtful questions of the authors, providing yet another opportunity to be entertained and informed about the variety of topics covered in the too-short addendum to the show.

The pair have performed this piece, in it’s many incarnations, all over the world and have formed a company that takes their unique perspective to private corporations and various organizations, encouraging the “private sector’ to share their own personal stories as a path to personal enlightenment and emotional growth.

How fortunate we are, that even here, tucked away in upstate New York (where both men own homes and spend much deserved “down time”) there is a place where we can gather as one and share some of these very special moments together.

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