I'm Not Rappaport Study Guide

I'm Not Rappaport

I'm Not Rappaport by Herb Gardner

Inspired by two elderly men Gardner met in New York City's Central Park, the play focuses on Nat Moyer, a feisty Jew, and Midge Carter, a cantankerous African-American, who spend their days sitting on a bench. They both mask the realities of aging, sharing 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!

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