This piece puts the viewer into the mind of someone with dementia better than anything I've seen. We see the world from Andre's perspective as his world slowly starts to disappear. His daughter, Anne, decides to move him into her place when he insults yet another caregiver. And she may or may not be moving away from Paris to London, and she may or may not be married. As Andre's mind gets more jumbled, so does the play. We see a conversation play out, then in the next scene someone tells Andre that it didn't happen. He's confused; so are we. A character we know from previous scenes walks on stage played by a different actor. Andre doesn't recognize them, even when they tell him their name; the audience is in the same boat. Things that we think are true may not be, as scenes overlap and turn back in on themselves. It's difficult to know what's going on; at times I even thought maybe it's true that everyone is gaslighting Andre just to get his beautiful Paris flat. But in the end it's clear - this is what dementia looks like from the inside, or one at least one playwright's imagining of it.
While this is happening, as pieces of Andre's memory and identity are slipping away, pieces of the set are also disappearing - his favorite leather chairs, the charming fainting couch, the bar, even the large abstract painting that dominates the room. Eventually nothing is left, just an empty set and Andre's empty existence. So very sad.
|Craig Johnson as Andre (photo by Alyssa Kristine)|
|Miriam Schwartz and Craig Johnson (photo by Alyssa Kristine)|
The Father continues through January 27.