Here’s my latest article on McKnight’s Long-Term Care News:
I was perusing The New York Times last week when I came upon an article about a play centering on my favorite topic — aging.
“Singing Beach,” by playwright Tina Howe, revolves around the drama that consumes a family when confronted with the need to place an elderly parent in a nursing home. Howe is 79 years old and lives with her 81-year old husband, who has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. She says the play was inspired by the care needs of her father years ago.
I enlisted a friend with similar interests to accompany me to the performance. “The director is a friend of mine,” I told her. “And I’m curious to see how long-term care is portrayed in the show.”
Howe, an Obie Award winner and two-time Pulitzer Prize finalist, notes that all the producers she’d initially approached turned down the script. Then, she encountered my director friend, Ari Laura Kreith, who found the subject in keeping with the mission of her company Theatre 167.
According to its website, Theatre 167 was “born in a community where 167 different languages are spoken” and it “creates, cultivates, and supports new work by artists of wide-ranging backgrounds, traditions, and beliefs” in order to provide “theatrical events that deepen and enhance our understanding of one another.”
Given our youth-obsessed culture and the paucity of “coming of old age” films and other media, this play certainly contributes a unique perspective and one that is, at the same time, universal. After all, among the 167 languages mentioned, each has speakers who are older adults and may one day be in need of long-term care.