“Planet A” at Shades Reopertory Theatre, Haverstraw Brings Attention to Alzheimer Patients

BY GEORGE J. DACRE

With author Mary Crescenzo in the audience, a cast of 13 portrayed the secrets, thoughts and frustrations of victims of the disease-Alzheimer’s-that saps memories and revealed how programs can help the victims to some degree.

“Planet A” is a one act play without an intermission, and an intense dramatization that tells the story of Pauline (Tracy McAlaster) who wonders “Who Am I?” and “Who Are You?” along with others in an Alzheimer’s facility. The show features several patients in a series of monologues that are sometimes heart-rendering, at other times tender and plaintiff.

Most tell of their past lives and some reflect on how special programs such as “Drawing On Memories” created by Tulsa, Oklahoma artist Mel Lee with use of social dancing helped them in their problems of feeling alone, a desire for a bed of their own, and loss of memory. Crescenzo, who worked as an arts facilitator at the Tulsa facility, told the Rockland County Times that there was some aid and comfort given to the patients in the program.

Theodore Kimmell plays the arts facilitator on “Planet A” and tells the story of the patients, who join in the series of monologues, in a play well presented by director Samuel Harps and a vehicle that gets across the message that more help is needed and that there is a way to somewhat reach out to Alzheimer disease patients.

The Hudson Valley, Westchester, Rockland Alzheimers Association had brochures at the Shades Theatre in the Prebyterian Church on Main Street telling of Walks To End Alzheimers with one coming up October 20 in Carmel, N.Y. and another October 27 in Pomona, Rockland County.

There is some very good acting by the cast that included, Nick Byrne, Keith Bullock, Arianna Pallens, Enid Breis, Steve Allen, Ruby Ellen Rocco, Ebon’ee Collens, Karen Mundell, Linda Rosen, Jelanie Jeffries and Donna James. Shades Repertory did well in bringing this story to the public and I rate “Planet A” Three Stars Out of Four!!!