Contemporary Theater Company Stages THE FATHER
This fall, the Contemporary Theater Company presents a touching and remarkable play, The Father, about an older man's world being turned upside down as dementia creeps in. It plays on the Contemporary Theater Company's riverfront performance patio September 14 through October 5.
South Kingstown resident Terry Simpson takes on the part of André, opposite Cranston's Tammy Brown as his daughter Anne. Terry is a ten-year veteran of the Contemporary Theater Company (CTC), and was onstage this summer in Unnecessary Farce. Tammy most recently appeared as Hamlet in the CTC's spring Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, and directed Romeo and Juliet, which played on the patio this summer.
The play by French playwright Florian Zeller and translated by Christopher Hampton is told from the perspective of André, who has dementia. The play contains confusing and disorienting sections, mirroring André's experience as his world seems to crumble around him.
"The first time I enter, I play André's daughter," says CTC General Manager Maggie Cady, who plays a character simply named "Woman" in the production. "But neither he nor the audience recognize me - just moments earlier you saw someone else playing his daughter. I'm a disorienting substitution, and it's brilliantly done to give the audience a level of empathy with André."
The Father will take place on the performance patio played in the round with audiences on all sides. Like at the Contemporary Theater Company's production of An Iliad last year, audiences will be offered a blanket when they come in, both to keep cozy on fall nights and add to the intimate nature of the show.
On September 20, the Contemporary Theater Company will be partnering with Home Care Assistance of Rhode Island to present When Life Gives You Lemons, a storytelling event aimed at sharing positive stories from families living with dementia.
"This disease and the many related conditions are so prevalent that almost everyone is affected in one way or another," says CTC Artistic Director Christopher J Simpson. "At the first read-through, the cast talked, and they all had someone close to them who had or had lived with dementia. This play is important because the better we can understand what these people in our lives are going through, the better we'll be at supporting them. It is also a fantastically engaging show."The Alheimer's Assocation and Home Care Assistance of Rhode Island will both be partnering with the CTC to conduct talk-back sessions after the shows, and to provide written essential information to any attendees who wish for additional supplements.