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I'm Not Rappaport is 1996 film adaptation by Herb Gardner of his play by the same name. Also directed by Gardner, the film starred Walter Matthau, Ossie Davis, Amy Irving, Craig T. Nelson, Martha Plimpton, Peter Friedman, and Ron Rifkin.

Synopsis

Inspired by two elderly men Gardner met in New York Citymarker's Central Parkmarker, it focuses on Nat Moyer, a cantankerous white Jew, and Midge Carter, a feisty African-American, who spend their days sitting on a bench, trying to mask the horrible realities of aging, mainly through the tall tales that Nat spins. The play touches on several issues, including society’s treatment of the aging, the difficulties dealing with adult children who think they know what's best for their parents, and the dangers that lurk in urban areas.

Its title comes from an old vaudeville joke, a variation of which evolved into dialogue between the two protagonists:

  • Nat: Hey, Rappaport! I haven't seen you in ages. How have you been?
  • Midge: I'm not Rappaport.
  • Nat: Rappaport, what happened to you? You used to be a short fat guy, and now you're a tall skinny guy.
  • Midge: I'm not Rappaport.
  • Nat: Rappaport, you used to be a young guy with a beard, and now you're an old guy with a mustache.
  • Midge: I'm not Rappaport.
  • Nat: Rappaport, how has this happened? You used to be a cowardly little white guy, and now you're a big imposing black guy.
  • Midge: I'm not Rappaport.
  • Nat: And you changed your name, too!


The play

Originally presented by Seattle Repertory Theatremarker in 1984, the play also saw two successful runs at the Booth Theatre on Broadwaymarker with 891 performances in 1985, and 53 in 2002. Both productions were directed by Daniel Sullivan and starred Judd Hirsch. The original role played by Cleavon Little was played by Ben Vereen in the 2002 revival.

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