Every year the Alzheimer’s Society runs a campaign to encourage people to ‘act on dementia’. And to coincide with the campaign, which runs from 16 to 22 May with diagnosis as its theme, Castle Players are staging the beautiful yet heartbreaking, tragic yet hopeful play, Still Alice, donating all profits to Alzheimer’s Society.
Adapted for stage by Christine Mary Dunford from the award-winning book by Lisa Genova, Still Alice gives an extraordinary window into the experience of living with dementia. It is a story that tells us that no matter what trials, trauma or chronic illness life throws at us, we can overcome it with love, patience and kindness. Deep down we are still who we are.
The play’s cast includes the critically acclaimed Linsey O’Neill, Simon Langford and Matthew Barrett. Linsey, who plays the role of Alice, said: “Doing justice to this role is hugely important for me as I can recognise and draw on my own very personal experiences with my mother who is on the same mental journey that Alice follows in the play.”
Simon, who plays Alice’s husband John, has also witnessed the effects of dementia having had close family members suffering with the disease. They all appeared in the group’s 2019 production of ‘The Elephant Man’, which received stunning reviews. Deanna Langford, director of both plays, said: “I’m thrilled to be directing Still Alice. I chose the play not only because of its message of love in the most difficult circumstances but also because of the theatrical opportunities presented by the script, including the way that Alice’s thoughts are communicated to the audience.”
There are almost a million people with dementia in the UK and one more person develops dementia every three minutes. Over 42,000 people with dementia are under 65 years of age. With numbers so high, it’s no surprise that most people have encountered dementia in someone they know. Many people acknowledge having trouble with their own memory, but they consider it a normal part of the aging process. This is not always the case and Dementia Action Week aims to encourage those who might be living with undiagnosed dementia to come forward for guidance and support.
Whatever your own situation, Still Alice is a must-see play which will increase your awareness and understanding of dementia. It’s an emotional rollercoaster that will take you on a journey through the eyes of someone with dementia and you’ll come away all the better for it. The play runs from 18 to 21 May at Lytchett Matravers Village Hall. Tickets are £10 and are available from castleplayers.com or on 01202 912351.
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