Living at Home of Park Rapids presents “Fortune Cookies,” the third part of a trilogy of dementia-friendly plays brought to the area by The Remember Project.
The virtual event starts at 3:15 p.m. Sunday, June 13 via Zoom, and is designed to help family members, caregivers, local businesses and the community discuss the issue of dementia, including the most well-known form of memory loss, Alzheimer’s disease.
The program is free, but registration is required. To register, visit parkrapids-fortune2021.eventbrite.com.
“Participation in The Remember Project dementia awareness tour has further enabled Living at Home (LAH) and our partners to offer education and awareness about dementia, helping to reduce the stigma that often accompanies memory loss,” said Connie Carmichael, LAH executive director. “One of our attendees spoke of memory loss being an upside-down gift – that memory loss helps us to consider a vow to be present. These dynamic plays shine a light on all facets of dementia and facilitate conversation about all of it.”
Five communities were selected to host The Remember Project, originally intended to tour with live theatrical performances. To date, more than 2,000 people have participated in the virtual performances and facilitated conversations that followed.
“Our ultimate goal is to assist community members and leaders to consider new ways to think about memory loss and to become aware of local resources that support families who are dealing with a diagnosis of dementia or Alzheimer’s disease,” said Remember Project founder and director Danette McCarthy.
“Fortune Cookies” is the first play written by Bonnie Dudovitz. In it, the character of Mona is a high-energy entrepreneur who always has a project on the front burner. Her enthusiasm is funny and charming. Though at age 80 her memory is sharp, she fears the idea of memory loss after seeing too much of it among friends and neighbors.
During the 16-minute play, Mona reveals a plan to counter the effects of future memory loss. As the audience gets to know her and her son, David, they have an opportunity to consider one of the biggest hurdles to creating a dementia-friendly Minnesota: understanding how knowledge and compassion are essential for keeping families out of crisis.
“My mother has dementia,” said Dudovitz, who lives in the Twin Cities. “She was always afraid of ending up with dementia, as are so many people, especially when they see it around them. I wrote this play to highlight those kinds of fears and for the audience to think about how those fears affect others.
“It’s not just the fear of actually losing your memory or your faculties; it’s also the process of how that happens. How will you be treated by friends and loved ones? How can we change that?”
Mona and David are played by professional actors Sherry Pearce of North Branch and Darrell Johnson of Minneapolis, directed by Danette McCarthy and Jim Pounds of the Twin Cities. The theatrical video was filmed by Hannah Robb of Medford, with lighting and sound design by Rachael Cady, originally from Red Wing.
Other plays produced by the Remember Project were “Steering into the Skid,” “Riding the Waves” and “In the Garden.”
Hosted by Living at Home of the Park Rapids Area, the program is also sponsored by the Minnesota Board on Aging, the Dementia Friendly Park Rapids action team, Heartland Arts and the Park Rapids Enterprise. The Remember Project, part of the Trellis family of programs and services, is funded in part by a grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the state arts and cultural heritage fund.
For more information or to register for the event, call 218-732-3137 or visit www.trellisconnects.org.