Telling Stories

One of the most important things we do at MemoryCare is to help our patients and their caregivers tell their stories. This collection of plays is our contribution toward disseminating some of these stories in an attempt to entertain, instruct, and ultimately bring wider attention to the looming personal and societal issues of cognitive impairment and its varying effects on families.

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Did you know you can buy these amazing plays on Amazon?

The Plays

In the Garden

Matthew Widman’s In the Garden portrays a family in crisis. Beloved father Arthur is fighting a losing battle with Alzheimer’s disease and his three grown children, Peter, Karen, and Jamie, have gathered at the family house to decide how to best take care of him. But the choices are not easy. While Arthur may wander off or lash out in anger or forget the names of his grandchildren at times, at other times he is lucid, funny and wise. Long-ingrained familial tensions boil to the surface as Peter, Karen, and Jamie struggle to treasure their father’s last cogent moments before he is lost to them forever.

Average play duration: 40 minutes

Steering into the Skid

Steering Into the Skid, by Arnold Johnston and Deborah Ann Percy, focuses on Amanda and Tim, both in their sixties. Twelve short scenes that are set in their SUV trace a year in their life together, from New Year’s Day to New Year’s Eve. As the months pass, the changes wrought by advancing age and Alzheimer’s disease force each character to adjust to new demands on their imperfect but loving marriage.

Average play duration: 20 minutes

Riding the Waves

Riding the Waves, by L.E. Grabowski-Cotton, tells the story of Isabel Epstein, a woman suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, and the struggles her son and daughter experience as a result. The inspiration for this play was the idea that the ocean could serve as a metaphor for the coming and going of memories. The waves interweave both Isabel’s past and present so that the reader or audience experiences the plight of an individual with Alzheimer’s.

Average play duration: 30 minutes

The Playwrights

Cover Art

The beautiful artwork that graces the cover of our anthology is Three Shapes in Space. Ca 1984 by Harry Widman. Mixed media collage. 18 x 24 inches. Collection of Matthew Widman.

This piece is particularly meaningful as The MemoryCare Plays’ cover for several reasons. First of all, it was created by an artist who was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease later in his career. Secondly, the artist’s son contributed one of the three plays contained in this collection. Finally, the symbolism of the three shapes contained in one beautiful piece of art perfectly encapsulates the three extraordinary one-acts that comprise The MemoryCare Plays.

Harry Widman (1929 – 2014) was a noted Oregon artist and professor emeritus from the Pacific Northwest College of Art (formerly the Portland Museum Art School). Widman’s artistic career spanned seventy years and includes works in oil on canvas, mixed media collage, watercolor, ink, charcoal, and wood sculpture. Primarily a painter in the New York abstract expressionist and modernist traditions, Widman’s work utilizes color and form to create a visual language that draws from figurative imagery, the natural world, from poetry and from myth. Harry Widman was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in 2008.

Further inquiries and catalogue information at www.harrywidmanart.com

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