The newest production at Fire Pit Productions, "The Father: A Tragic Farce," is sensitive and sheds a different light on dementia, according to its director, Quincy Roers.
The play takes an emotionally intense look at the world through the eyes of Andre, who is experiencing dementia, and the dramatic illustration of the physical losses that accompany the mental ones.
Roers said the play, which was written by French playwright Florian Zeller, has won numerous awards and is well-regarded in its field.
Al Alvig, who plays the role of Andre, said the play is emotional and that he was "quite moved by it."
"I don't think I've ever had a role like this," Alvig said. "The author skillfully, in the way the scenes are constructed, conveys an elegant understanding of dementia. The script is massive and there have been times I felt like Andre."
Alvig said at times his character realizes something is going on, but at other times he is in full-blown denial. Andre has pervasive fear of abandonment, which occasionally leads him to not only be assertive toward his daughter, but to say some very hurtful things to her.
Karmen Lemm, who plays the role of the daughter, said Alvig is such a strong and powerful actor and so believable that she "swells up with tears and just wants to hug him."
Lemm said her character, Anne, is worried about her father and what is happening to him. She feels overwhelmed because of having to take care of him full-time.
Although the play is emotional and can pull at the heartstrings, especially for anyone who has or is dealing with dementia, Lemm said that people should go because it may help them and show them they are not alone.
"In the end, we do what we think is best for our parents," Lemm said of her character. "Whenever we make decisions, we keep their safety and well-being at heart, and just do the best we can. And this play shows that."
If you go
WHAT: "The Father: A Tragic Farce"
WHERE: Lakes Area Radio Theatre, 2214 Geneva Road NE, Alexandria
WHEN: Friday, Sept. 21, and Saturday, Sept. 22, at 7:30 p.m.
INFO: Tickets can be purchased at the theater the night of the performances. For more information, go to www.facebook.com/FirePitProductions/.
Karmen Lemm - Anne
Al Alvig - Andre
Kristen Roers - Laura
Philip Goellner - Pierre
Katy Niemeyer - Woman
Quincy Roers - Man