Heart-tugging drama doesn’t get more powerful than a creation based on personal experience.
Derbyshire playwright Tim Elgood’s piece Unforgettable is a soul-searching, thought-provoking, bitter-sweet look at dementia and family relationships.
His award-winning work is dedicated to his mother-in-law’s fight against Alzheimer’s and highlights the daily sacrifices and struggles of families in caring for relatives and also the good, if any, which can come out of it.
Life’s too short is the theme which runs through Unforgettable and its message is that you either make the most of it or regret that you haven’t achieved anything.
Unforgettable, which won New Perspectives’ Long Play award, has been turned into a beautifully crafted piece of theatre, which is directed by Theresa Keogh and is currently being toured by the company.
Guilt, sacrifice, despair, grief , humour, singing and music are the keys elements in a story of a brother and sister who give up jobs , houses and freedom to look after their mum who has dementia.
Anna Lindup gives a riveting performance in the role of bolshie, feisty, unlucky-in-love older sister Rosie. “I don’t want to die a carer,” she says, poignantly, in a rare scene where Rosie’s protective hard shell starts to crack.
Lennox Greaves plays her gentle easy-going, brother Jed who is adamant that mother is top of his priority list. However, he eventually gets an afternoon of happiness which he would never have found in his old life.
Hayley Doherty and Adam Donaldson play Rosie and Jed in their younger lives and in extreme old age, the latter affected by mental and physical illness where the issue of care raises its head again. Hayley gives a particularly impressive portrayal of an old lady shuffling along, clutching her skirt, or sitting legs akimbo. Adam’s emotional speech to a doctor in which he says that dealing with old age is not something you learn from medical books is tear-jerkingly powerful.
Gem Greaves’ set design is as impressive as the play with two stages on wheels being moved around to symbolise living rooms in a private residence and a care home. The Seventies furniture, cushions and crockery also captured the interest of the audience at County Hall, Matlock, last night (Saturday, May 30) where the adornments were stripped as the story progressed.
Ftittingly, Unforgettable ends its run during National Carers Week with a performance at Crich Glebe Field Centre on June 14, after New Pespectives premiered the play in Derby during Dementia Awareness Week.