As the sixth leading cause of death in the United States for people over 65, Alzheimer’s has targeted the lives of millions of Americans. It is one of the country’s top 10 causes of death, yet there is no cure.
Thursday, Friday, Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m.
A2CT Studio Theater
Award-winning Michigan playwright Kim Carney isn’t intimidated by these statistics. Alzheimer’s has had devastating effects on her own life, causing the death of her mother.
Ann Arbor Civic Theatre will present Carney’s play, “Moonglow,” to Ann Arbor audiences this week. In the play, Carney takes her experience and carves out a plot in the form of a sad, poignant and surprisingly funny play about the process of aging and losing your mind.
The play revolves around the life of an elderly Alzheimer’s patient, Maxine, portrayed as a stubborn and somewhat aggressive woman. When her family decides it’s time for assisted living, Maxine isn’t going quietly. The story closely follows Carney’s experiences with her mother, who had adopted an increasingly glum view of the world after divorcing her cheating husband.
In addition to being a bittersweet and comedic play, “Moonglow” is also a love story. According to director Cassie Mann, Maxine forms a strong connection with another Alzheimer’s, Joe. The two are around the same age and both bet the loves of their lives during World War II.
“So there are actually characters in the play that represent the two people as young folks It’s really kind of a love story between the past and the present characters,” Mann said. “It’s also a very humorous story, despite its rather serious topic.”
The world premiere of “Moonglow” was first presented by Performance Network Theater in 2006. Upon seeing it, Mann instantly fell in love with the show. So, when it came available again, she jumped at the opportunity.
Despite “Moonglow” being built around a disorder most commonly associated with elderly individuals, it’s appealing to younger audiences, as well.
“It really resonates with everybody,” Mann said, “because we found that the young people who play the younger characters, as well as the older characters in the play, all — it just happened — have some connection to somebody. There’s a grandparent, an aunt or somebody who has some form of dementia.”
To foster an awareness of dementia and the options available for treatment, A2CT is collaborating with Eva’s House, a dementia care facility at Glacier Hills. Following the Sunday matinee of “Moonglow” Carney and members of Eva’s House will hold a discussion session and a Q&A for community members to take part in.
“Moonglow” ’s plot is a very concise one, but it doesn’t preach nor make judgment about the final phase of life. Rather, it presents a very somber issue with a humorous and romantic twist.