Dementia focus of play next month

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by Greta Yeoman

A verbatim play about dementia is coming to Twizel next month.

The Keys are in the Margarine has been crafted from interviews with people directly experiencing the effect of Alzheimer’s disease or other dementia issues – including caregivers, family members, doctors and support workers.

Presented by Arts on Tour NZ, in association with Brain Research New Zealand, the production will come to the Twizel Events Centre on Tuesday, October 8.

Data from Brain Research New Zealand says more than 60,000 New Zealanders live with Alzheimer’s disease or a related dementia, and that number is expected to triple by 2050.

Verbatim productions are an unusual but compelling form of theatre in which the actors, with the audio edited from the testimonies playing in their ears, present the original words of those interviewed and how those words are spoken – every vocal inflection, intonation, and hesitation, every physical gesture and facial expression.

The stories communicate the all-encompassing effect dementia has on the lives of people living with the disease and the lives of everyone around them, weaving hilarity with heartbreak.

Theatreview previously described the style of verbatim or documentary productions as “deeply absorbing theatre”.

The Keys are in the Margarine will come to Twizel on October 8. It will also be performed in Ashburton on October 9.