I took my mom to see ‘The Lion’, written and performed by Benjamin Scheuer at the Merrimack Repertory Theatre in Lowell this past week. As we settled into our seats, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect from this one man musical, but the theatre was full for this Sunday matinee performance and the first show of the Merrimack Repertory Theatre’s 2015-2016 season.
This play was written and performed by Benjamin Scheuer. Ben is an award-winning songwriter who captures your attention and your heart right from the beginning with his first song. This song allowed me to understand the mindset of young Ben and how he found music by listening to his dad play and sing at an early age. He sings of the toy Cookie tin banjo he received from his dad and shares his dream of starting a band with his brothers. However all that changes when Ben asked his dad to teach him to play like him. Ben’s dad lost his temper and abruptly told Ben, “ I can’t show you how to play like me.” Ben didn’t understand where all that anger was coming from during that time and eventually stops speaking to him. Shortly after, Ben’s dad becomes ill and dies. Ben’s story continues through high school where he sings about his father’s abusive and harsh words. You can feel his anger and heartache through his song and the use of his electric guitar. As Ben grows older he begins to open up and play his father’s acoustic guitar, which had laid dormant in its’ case for many years. Through songs, Ben shares his child hood tragedy, family responsibilities, the laughter and joy of being in love with a woman and the loss and heartache when she leaves him. He sings of life’s unexpected twists and turns, pain and suffering, sadness and joy. His words are honest. His vocals are riveting. His guitar playing is tremendous. He is a magnificent storyteller and a very extraordinary songwriter. His story is captivating from beginning to end where he learned that all he ever really needed to do was play like himself.
For me, as I am sure so many others sitting in the audience, I could relate to Ben and his life in one way or another. So if you have a chance, don’t miss this performance in Lowell. The season opener is thought provoking and will leave you inspired! This is the last week to see this Show. Performances are through Sunday, September 20th, 2015. Visit www.mrt.org for times and tickets.
Until next time,