Don’t try to make GW’s Dr. Charles Samenow choose between his two passions, theater and medicine, because his plate is full with both currently, almost to overflowing. That’s because his dream of presenting health issues in the context of theater attended by the general public is about to happen.
Developed in partnership with Jeffrey Steiger, a pioneer of applied theater, who wrote the original book, music and lyrics, as well as directs Tangles, a musical play and educational outreach initiative concerning cognitive impairment. The musical will have a short run in Woolly Mammoth’s rehearsal space, April 3 – 12.
The near mystical impact of stories on the human condition has been recounted over the ages, and seeing the effects first hand has made Dr. Samenow a believer in the power of the personal story, he told DCTS. Stories keep people from feeling alone in their experience by reflecting how others have been and will go through similar events. Samenow has tapped into a special niche using theater to educate, with narrative as a spring board for healing, education, and change.
Previous works have been performed in medical auditoriums and even cafeterias, so performance in a theater space is a big step in validating the show’s theatrical focus. The topic evolved last year as Samenow noted the unrelenting impact of Alzheimer’s not only on individual patients but their families and loved ones.
In Tangles, the loving bond between an older woman and her granddaughter reflects the social reality of non-traditional family structures and shows how strength and resiliency can emerge despite the devastating disease.
April 3 – 12
Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company’s rehearsal space
641 D Street NW
Washington, DC 20004
Details and Tickets
For more information, call 202 994.7969
Music was a natural outgrowth of telling the story where the past intermingles with the present, ebbing and flowing like receding memories. The songs bring a touching intimacy to the interchanges between the characters as they wrestle with the changing realities.
The intention of the show for the presenters is to facilitate dialog and discussion. As such, there will be a panel discussion after each performance. Health care providers and caregivers will share their perspectives on the characters’ journeys, the dynamics of the health enterprise, and the choices people make in the best decisions for themselves and loved ones.
Tangles was designed to appeal to a wide audience, from highly skilled health and medical professionals to the typical theater-going public. Dig deep and far enough and everyone has been or will be touched by some aspect of Alzheimer’s Disease. Samenow believes that Tangles can facilitate a dialog for sharing beyond the anger and hurt that accompany loss, and help the move towards hope.