Cognitive disorders are often described as “the long good-bye.” Art, especially theater, is an invaluable means for us to gain a personal, emotional understanding of the difficult transition families affected by cognitive impairment must go through. The MemoryCare Plays anthology teaches us that the often difficult and heartbreaking time families have together can be punctuated with poignant moments of laughter and joy.
The MemoryCare Plays are edited by Dr. Margaret A. Noel, founder of MemoryCare, a non-profit charitable organization in Asheville, NC, that provides integrated services for elderly persons with cognitive disorders and their caregivers.
In the spring of 2012, as part of our mission to educate our community and to raise funds to care for our caregivers, MemoryCare put forth a call for one act plays that highlighted the issues families face when a loved one suffers from dementia. We sought one act plays that dramatized the full complexity and richness of the caregiving relationship, including its challenges as well as its rewards.
In response to our call for original, never before produced one-act plays, we received 91 submissions from 24 states, Canada, England, and Australia. After an initial screening by a panel of caregivers, a juried committee made the selection of the top three submissions based on the playwright’s insight regarding family dynamics and caregiving for a person with dementia and ability to convey theme and ideas through character, staging, and dialogue.
These three one acts were performed on May 4, 2013 in a staged reading in Asheville, North Carolina. The audience voted on prize ranking with First Place awarded to Steering Into the Skid by Deborah Ann Percy and Arnold Johnston, Second Place to In the Garden by Matthew Widman, and Third Place to Riding the Waves by L.E. Grabowski-Cotton.