CMU School of Drama

Monday, April 24, 2017

Award-winning play 'Absence' delves into dementia

TribLIVE: Alzheimer's disease or dementia affects a patient's loved ones and makes it harder to assess what's going on inside the patient.

Newhaven Court at Lindwood in Hempfield will explore that heartbreaking issue by presenting the play “Absence” on April 26 at Greensburg's Palace Theatre.


Kelly Simons said...

I’m pleased that a show that is tackling dementia. My family has been effected by it greatly, so I understand the heart break that is felt every day when a loved one doesn’t remember you, or who can’t hold a short-term conversation in their memory. Oftentimes it can be frustrating; you want your loved one to be excited to see you, but somedays they don’t even recognize you, no matter how much you love them. This play is especially interesting because it is not told for the perspective of the patient’s family members, instead from the point of view of the patient. I believe this choice seemed more attractive to the playwright because we, as audience members already know how the patient’s family feels even if we personally haven’t loved someone with dementia. There are few stories that tell this play’s side of the story. The only one I can think of is the film “The Butterfly and the Diving Bell”. This play will be able to create a world that is unknown to the audience, but can still be understood.

Angel Zhou said...

A good family friend’s father is currently suffering from dementia, which is what drew me to this article, and I find the idea behind this play to be absolutely fascinating. I wish they had talked about it a little more – how are they going to make it happen from Helen’s perspective? It sounds as though the inclusion of hallucinations (e.g., Dr. Bright), will be utilized to make it this way. I am so curious about the actual details of how this journey into the brain of a woman with dementia will be achieved, though.

I know that if I attended this show, I would not be able to stop crying through it. I believe it would be greatly impactful if this play turns into a national-scale fundraising project for Alzheimer’s; I greatly respect the fact that they will be donating their proceeds. It is a tough disease to have to live with and the idea of this play is a much-needed one to help raise awareness in our society.

Claire Krueger said...

My last living grandparent has dementia and this article hit close to home. The author discussed his mother’s dementia in a slightly positive light which was a nice balance for such an article discussing such a heavy play. I think a play of this subject is deserved of its awards, and is an eye opener to what dementia and alzheimer's really means. Unlike the author I have few memories before my grandmother got dementia, so all I know is a grandmother who never knows who I am, except on the occasional blue moon when she thinks i'm my mother. Even then it’s still upsetting to see her weekly and have her introduce herself weekly, it starts to hurt after a while. I can’t help but wonder just how much more it would hurt if I had a before to compare to the after. Judging on my experience it’s an intensely emotional time and I can image it translating onto stage incredibly.