The Winona Dementia Friendly Community Action Team is pleased to announce the upcoming virtual performance of “In the Garden,” the second of three plays that make up The Remember Project. Three events will be held through Zoom and are free to the public, though reservations are required. Tickets are available through Eventbrite at winona-garden2021.eventbrite.com. The dates are Wednesday, March 3, at 11 a.m.; and Sunday, March 14, at 1 p.m.
“We hosted The Remember Project’s virtual production of ‘Steering into the Skid’ last fall,” said Lori Paulson. “The combination of watching a play together followed by facilitated discussion is an excellent way to help create a better understanding about the challenges facing those with memory loss as well as their families and friends.”
The Remember Project is a special program that is designed to help family members, care partners, local businesses, and the broader community be in conversation around dementia and the most well known form of memory loss, Alzheimer’s disease. All community members are encouraged to attend this program which is funded in part by a grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board.
The play, “In the Garden,” was written by Matthew Widman and published in The MemoryCare Plays, a book of three one-act plays compiled and edited by Dr. Margaret A. Noel. “This play is dedicated to my father, Harry Widman, a wonderful artist, teacher and parent,” said the playwright. “Although the characters in the play are fictional, my father’s aesthetic voice rings true through the persona of Arthur, a man who despite his illness, never loses his observant eye for the splendor and excitement of the world around him.”
The setting of “In the Garden” is the home of Arthur Monsetin where his three grown children have come together after the death of their mother to try to help decide a course of action for their beloved father who is struggling with Alzheimer’s disease. While Arthur may wander off at times, lash out in anger or forget the names of his grandchildren, at other times he is lucid, funny, and wise. Long ingrained familial tensions come to the surface when Peter, Karen, and Jamie struggle to treasure their father as they also come to terms with his limitations. Each of Arthur’s children has a very different view about what is best, yet one thing is clear: Their love for their father will guide the way.
“This general scenario is taking place with thousands of families across America every day as adult children try their very best to chart a course for loved ones who are experiencing dementia,” said facilitator Danette McCarthy. “It can feel extremely isolating to face decisions about care and to navigate the journey of decision-making as a family. ‘In the Garden’ is a compassionate invitation to help families and friends support each other through the immense challenges and pressures placed on care partners.”
The ultimate goal of The Remember Project 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. This program takes a unique approach to building awareness, sharing information, and inviting authentic community conversations.
“In the Garden” was part of The Remember Project, which toured the lower St. Croix Valley in the fall of 2015. To date, over 80 performances and conversations have taken place to address the stigma, fear, and isolation associated with dementia. This very unique experience uses theater and conversation to learn and make decisions about the future.
Hosted by the Winona Dementia Friendly Community Action Team, the program is locally sponsored by the city of Winona, Southeastern Minnesota Area Agency on Aging (SEMAAA), WNB Financial, Winona Health, Miller Scrap and Horihan Insurance. To learn more or register for the event, please call Lori Paulson or log on to winona-garden2021.eventbrite.com.
About the Winona Dementia Friendly Community Action Team: We are a group of concerned people from local nonprofit agencies and businesses, local assisted living and skilled nursing facilities, the Winona Friendship Center and the community. Together, the Action Team is working for Winona to become truly Dementia Friendly.