On Monday, I was lucky enough to get a chance to attend a free reading of the play, “Absence” by Peter M. Floyd. It was presented at the Alliance Theatre, one of Atlanta’s most respected theatre companies. Before the reading, there was a senior care resource center where local companies were on hand to talk about their products.
The play itself is quite simple, yet powerful. A strong, vibrant woman develops dementia and the play illustrates the impact her diagnosis has on her and her family. Anyone who knows someone with dementia will be able to relate to the themes of the play: denial, anger, frustration, sadness, desperation.
There are a some moments of humor sprinkled throughout but overall the play is a sobering reminder of the impact dementia has on family relationships. I was intrigued by the personification of the disease in the form of a wise-cracking doctor with a northern accent. Throughout the play, he acts like a drug pusher trying to peddle heroin on an unsuspecting youngster, telling the lead character that Alzheimer’s wipes the slate clean, along with all of your regrets and mistakes, making you feel free. It’s an interesting perspective.
The lead character and her daughter reminded me of my own relationship with my mom. I would love to see the play fully produced, as I was really blown away by the reading alone.
If you get the chance to see this play, don’t hesitate but be prepared for it to hit close to home.