Asparagus Community Theatre presents Half life, written by John Mighton, April 20-23 and 26-28. Half life deals with society’s view of the elderly, and coming to terms with aging. (Photo submitted)

Asparagus Theatre play deals with dementia

Coming to terms with the aging process is something we all have to face

Parker Crook

Morning Star Staff

Coming to terms with the aging process is something we all have to face.

Asparagus Community Theatre presents Half Life, directed by Paul Kirkwood-Hackett and written by John Mighton, April 20-23 and 26-28. It’s a performance that hits close to home for just that reason.

“It’s a look at how we perceive the elderly — when they’re growing old and no longer of use to society,” said Kirkwood-Hackett. “I think (the audience) will identify with it.”

The play follows the lives of Clara and Patrick, residents in a nursing home who begin to fall in love and navigate what they believe to be a rekindled romance while battling cowardice and disillusionment, as their children Donald and Anna watch from the sidelines.

“It’s a play about quite a few things,” said Kirkwood-Hackett. “(Such as) fading memory and coming to terms with aging. It deals with the onslaught of dementia.”

Their dilemmas while living in the seniors home, attempting to remember their affair during the war time, and now reigniting their lost romance in their 80s leads to the title.

“They’re living in sort of a half-life,” said Kirkwood-Hackett.

The play also deals with Donald and Anna’s reaction to their parents’ possibly reignited love affair, with Donald being against their connection and Anna more or less for it.

“The whole play works on many levels,” he said.

But don’t expect a happy ending in this theatrical look at how people treat society’s elderly.

“It doesn’t have a happy ending or a sad sending, it just has an ending,” said Kirkwood-Hackett. “It’s up to the audience to make tale of what happened.

“It’s not a play that people live happily ever after in, but it does bring it home. I’m a senior myself, so it’s kind of close to the heart.”

Kirkwood-Hackett first read the play a few years ago, and thought it would be a meaningful story to tell. Now that its showtime approaches, he’s excited to share the work everyone has put in, from the talented actor playing the main characters, to the beautiful set portraying a seniors home.

“It’s a beautifully written play,” he said. “It really kind of touches you.”

In 2005, Mighton, a mathematician, author, and playwright, won the Governor General’s Award for English-language drama for Half Life.

“I sometimes get the feeling it’s almost autobiographical,” laughed Kirkwood-Hackett, noting the connection between the mathematician character Donald and Mighton.

“I’m really excited to see the play.”

Asparagus Community Theatre presents Half Life at the Centennial Auditorium, 3120 Pleasant Valley Rd., Armstrong, April 20-23 and 26-28, curtains at 7:30 p.m., and 1 p.m. matinees April 22-23. Tickets are available for $20 for adults and $18 for seniors and students from The Guy Next Door, 3450-Okanagan St., 250-546-0950. For more information, visit www.asparaguscommunitytheatre.com.

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