Lookingglass Theatre presents the world premiere of Still Alice

Mar 18, 2013
Lookingglass Theatre

Continuing its 25th Anniversary Season, Lookingglass Theatre Company presents the world premiere of Still Alice, adapted and directed by Ensemble Member Christine Mary Dunford, based on the novel by Lisa Genova.  The production runs April 10 - May 19, 2013 at Lookingglass Theatre Company, located inside Chicago's historic Water Tower Water Works, 821 N. Michigan Ave. at Pearson.   

Professor Alice Howland is at the peak of her career studying the human brain when her own mind begins to falter. Fiercely independent, she battles to preserve her way of life, even as confusion clouds her thinking and her memory begins to fail. This world premiere adaptation of the award-winning novel is at the same time heartbreaking and hopeful.

"What is extraordinary about Lisa Genova's book and Christine's adaptation of it is that it takes on a fact of life which has increasing relevance for so many of us, but treats it with great compassion, humor, humanity, and light.  This play gives us a rare opportunity to get 'inside the head' of someone experiencing Alzheimer's disease, while also giving us insight into the experience of those family members who are first-hand witnesses and must change and adapt alongside her," says Artistic Director Andrew White.  "This production is also a reunion of sorts for us, bringing back to Lookingglass some long-time friends, Christopher Donahue and Mariann Mayberry, both of whom worked with us in some of our earliest productions and have since gone on to terrific stage careers in Chicago and nationally.  Having these members of our extended family back to work with so many Ensemble members -- Christine Mary Dunford, John Musial, Eva Barr, David Kersnar, and Tracy Walsh -- and joined by first rate actors Cliff Chamberlain and Joanne Dubach, makes this family story ring with even more resonance."

Christine Mary Dunford's adaptation of the novel Still Alice was inspired, in part, by her longtime work with The Memory Ensemble, which she co-founded with The Northwestern Cognitive Neurology and Alzheimer's Disease Center (CNADC).  The Memory Ensemble is an improvisational theater intervention designed to improve the quality of life for persons with early stage Alzheimer's disease and related disorders (ADRD). The Memory Ensemble uses improvisational theater to provide a unique therapeutic intervention for people in the early stages of ADRD. Improvisation focuses on bringing one's personal awareness into the moment, which fosters new ways of thinking, and emphasizes self-awareness, imagination, and spontaneity. This theater program sees persons with dementia for their creative potential, rather than for their loss, and has the potential to improve quality of life, provide physical and mental stimulation, offer emotional support, alleviate stress, and educate others about ADRD.

The cast of Still Alice includes Ensemble members Eva Barr (Alice), David Kersnar (Doctor David), and Tracy Walsh (Doctor Tamara); Cliff Chamberlain (Son); Chris Donahue (John); Joanne Dubach (Lydia); and Mariann Mayberry (Herself).

The creative team for Still Alice includes Ensemble member John Musial (Scenic), Artistic Associate Alison Siple (Costumes), Mike Durst (Lighting), Artistic Associate Rick Sims (Sound/Composition), and Mike Tutaj (Projections).