Tackling the difficult, and often terrifying, topic of Alzheimer’s disease is skillfully addressed in the Group Rep’s new offering "BREADCRUMBS," Upstairs at the Group Rep.
Written by award-winning playwright Jennifer Haley, this is a thoughtfully written account of what many of us may face with our parents, family members and friends. This month is Worldwide Alzheimer Month with the hope of removing the stigma of this dreadful and serious disease.
LtoR Lisa McGee Mann Lareen Faye. Photo by Doug Engalla.
Alida is a withdrawn fiction writer who lives alone with no family and few friends. Receiving her diagnosis of a disease with no cure or treatment, she is faced with not knowing what will happen to her. Alida is befriended by Beth who she meets while receiving her diagnosis. What we see from this point is Beth, who has many of her own personal issues she must face, become committed to support Alida through all the phases of this disease. Alida is adeptly played by Lareen Faye. We see her progress, both physically and mentally, through all these phases. She goes from mostly coherent and aware of her circumstances to complete paranoia, with all the pain and anguish in between. Beth, played by the talented Lisa McGee-Mann, is Alida’s caretaker. Ms McGee-Mann also takes on another character that emanates within Alida’s mind and manifesting on stage. We fluctuate with Alida through her mind’s eye. We go through the “forest” of Alida’s thoughts and her trail of post-it notes, realizing that most will fade as dementia and loneliness appears, and that she is truly “lost in the forest.” And Beth is there throughout. "BREADCRUMBS" is Bert Emmett’s first directorial endeavor, and is a passionate project with a message of hopefulness.
LtoR Lareen Faye, Lisa McGee Mann. Photo by Doug Engalla.
Many of us have had to face the tragedy of Alzheimer’s disease with family or friends. We may be frightened of what lies ahead and everything we don’t know about this disease. We have seen what it does to the ones we love, and what it does to those who are so close to it. With information and discussion, we become just a little more informed and knowledgeable. It doesn’t make it better…at the moment. But it is bringing us nearer to what hopefully is a cure.
This is a MUST SEE. It isn’t joyful. It doesn’t have a happy ending. It is a well written, beautifully acted, well directed timely subject with tender and funny moments. And…it is a play worth seeing.
Cast: Lareen Faye, Lisa McGee-Mann
Directed by: Bert Emmett
Producer for the Group Rep: Helen O’Brien
Assistant Director: Stephanie Colet
Set Design: Chris Winfield
Stage Manager: Kenny Harder
Sound Design: Steve Shaw
Costume Design: Stephanie Colet & Helen O’Brien
Witch Helpers: Kaia Mann, Stephanie Colet, and Linda Alznauer
Production Photography: Doug Engalla
Public Relations: Nora Feldman
Graphic Design: Doug Haverty + Art & Soul Design
Upstairs at The Group Rep
The Lonny Chapman Theatre
10900 Burbank Blvd
North Hollywood, CA 91601
Buy Tickets: 818-763-5990 - www.thegrouprep.com
Running Time: 80 minutes (no intermission)
Show Dates: September 8 -- October 14, 2018
Show Times: Saturday Matinees at 2:00 pm; Sunday Evenings at 7:00 pm
After the matinee Talk-backs with cast & staff – Sept 15 & Sept 29;
Ticket Prices: General Admission: $20; Senior & Students (with ID): $15
Upstairs at the Group Rep is not handicapped accessible