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The playwright who will never retire

Riderwood’s Isadore Seeman continues to write, produce plays

Created date

February 26th, 2013

Isadore Seeman is not retiring anytime soon. Sure, he s retired from his day job, the one that paid the bills for decades, but the acting, the writing, the living life with passion these are things he will never ever retire from. By living at Riderwood, an Erickson Living community in Silver Spring, Md., he doesn t have to. He is, in fact, living life on his own terms. When Isadore first moved to Riderwood in 2005, he envisioned his days filled with working on his plays. And that is exactly what he did and continues to do to this day. Though Isadore has been acting seriously since he was in high school, he hadn t spent a lot of time writing until he officially retired from his job at the public health department in 1986. When I retired, I said it was time to spend more time writing, he says. So he did what any writer would do he visited a state park for a week, put pen to page, and wrote about the first black mayor in a major American city. My predilection is only for serious works, he says, and that is true in his reading, his acting, and his writing.

Bringing light to the lesser known

The year before last, Isadore was able to devote a year writing his one-man teleplay about Beethoven calledLudwig. When he writes and when he acts, he s searching for the hidden truth behind characters to bring to light either lesser-known characters or lesser-known aspects of well-known characters. It strikes me as a way to reveal something that people have some sense about but don t really know about, he says. Take Beethoven, for example. His is a household name, even centuries after he lived, but many people aren t aware of the trials he faced in life the failed relationships with multiple women; the intense legal battle over a nephew; the fact that he couldn t get along with many people. Isadore s purpose was to point out: Okay, we know his music, but what was really behind the music? And what did it take for him to create it? At Riderwood, Isadore was able to have Ludwig filmed in the on-site TV studio. His partner Marilyn Willner prompted him during filming. Broken down into four parts, the play aired on Riderwood s in-house TV channel for four weeks (one part per week).

What s next?

Currently, Isadore is working on a new play centered around the life of Lyndon B. Johnson, inspired by the five-volume, best-selling series written by Robert Caro. Whenever Isadore creates new plays, he takes into account his decades of experience, both on stage and off, and dives in with confidence. It s a whole different thing, to be on stage, he says, you know who you re supposed to be, and that helps me to open up in a way that I can t in any other place or time. Though he s uncomfortable with small talk and large groups of strangers, he feels right at home at Riderwood. He s able to do his work, and then he and Marilyn have dinner with their friends. They also attend lectures and classes offered on campus. Aside from the fact that Isadore has played 44 different roles on stage, attended 749 performances, and written countless plays all as a passionate hobbyist one of the most inspiring things about him is that he never wants to retire from the work; he never quits. I ve written several plays over my lifetime, none of which I was able to get truly produced, but I don t stop trying, Isadore says. And he never will.