On Alzheimers, Death, and Acceptance
This show came to me at a very interesting time in my life. I had just lost my Grandmother earlier this summer, who had dementia and who was unable to tell my brother an i apart at the end. So right off the bat this show was going to be very special to me. On Christmas day, only weeks before We would enter tech, I was asked to take my Grandmother from the other side of the family to her home in Jefferson Park.
I have always admired G. Sowa as being one of the toughest, strongest women I had every met in all of my life (One time she thought she had a heart attack, and after recovering from the immediate shock, climbed down 3 flights of stairs, walked across the street to the Jewel Osco, withdrew $100, and hailed a taxi to the Hospital, rather than call 911). I helped her struggle up those same stairs we had climbed monthly growing up and visiting her, and helped her get settled back in. I watered her plants, cleaned up a few things around the apartment, and got her her mail from downstairs, where I found a package, which she asked me to open for her. A CD entitled “Walk Towards the Light: Guided Meditation for End of Life”.
“Oh yes i remember ordering that. I’m just old Robert. Old and tired and tired of fighting.” She said, “I’ve just been through so much.” To see this powerful woman, this woman who lived through the depression, who raised 5 kids in the City while being a constant servant to the City, who was a constant supporter and fighter for her community, confess this to me. It was tremendous. It made this piece so much more real for me.
So, my design for this show will forever be dedicated to my grandmother, Jean Sowa, one of the strongest women I know.
From the very first meeting, I knew without a doubt I wanted to base this show around the Black Sun Synth from Logic X. It has this amazing and perfectly fitting strong note and white noise, static filled decay, which mimicked both the fuzzy decay of memories in age, and the calm sound of snowy lawn at night. From there, each piece from Prologue to Finale builds off of each other, with each transition fitting the internal struggle we end each scene with, sculpted by each set of characters in each of the 4 scenes. Here are 6 of these pieces, in their entirety.
Finale – Into the Light
Curtain Call – Something Lighter
Each Of the Episodes is designed to represent the terror and confusion that takes over the mind of someone with Alzheimers. These Episodes are written into the piece, and are designed to starkly breakup the action of the show, as Annis experiences gaps in her own timeline and interactions with others. Annis has come to terms with the deterioration of her own mind, and these episodes expedite her plans to take her own life, despite her Husband Ro breaking their previous pact to go out together. Here are 3 of these episodes as they were originally composed.