Arthur Monsetin is a fictional character, but the story of his fading memory and declining comprehension is one that will ring true to the millions of Americans suffering from dementia, and the family members who struggle along with them.
Monsetin, the central character of “In the Garden,” a Memory Care Play written by Matthew Widman, embodies the dementia crisis and its effects on not just the individual, but their loved ones and communities.
The 25-minute play, being presented Nov. 13 and 14 at Stoney Creek Hotel, aims to start a conversation among members of the Coulee Region, from caregivers to business owners, many of whom know or will encounter individuals with Alzheimer’s, according to the La Crosse Tribune.
“In the Garden” is the second installment of three plays in the Remember Project, created in 2015 and debuting in St. Croix Valley.
Last fall, a local performance of “Steering into the Skid,” hosted by the Aging and Disability Resource Center of La Crosse, drew about 120 individuals, and more than 250 are expected to attend the November edition.
The Remember Project, which strives to build awareness, share resources and provide support for those touched by dementia, was brought to La Crosse in 2017 through a Dementia Crisis Innovation Grant from the Wisconsin Department of Health Services.
“Our performance last year was really well received,” said Danette McCarthy, who acted in “Steering into the Skid” and will facilitate the post-performance discussion for “In the Garden.” “The conversations after the play were really, really rich. There was a level of self disclosure and a level of safety in the room. The conversation is very organic, very real.”
McCarthy calls art, music and theatre “wonderful mediums to get messages across,” and “In the Garden” offers powerful perspectives and depictions of the reverberating effects of illness.
Read the full story at the La Crosse Tribune.