Because of Love - Virtual Programme

Hector Boyd’s relationship with his son becomes estranged when Nathan tells him he doesn’t want to take on the family farm. Several years pass as they live their separate lives but when Nathan is told his father has been diagnosed with dementia, he has to decide how to react when he realises that his dad is not the man he was.

 

The play will be staged on 12th & 13th May in Chardstock Village Hall, and then on 20th & 21st May in Kilmington Village Hall. Tickets cost £10. Doors Open at 7:00PM. Starts at 7:30PM

CAST
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This is Nathan, played by Mike Spellar. He’s been estranged from his father for years, so he doesn’t know how to react when he’s told that his dad has dementia. It takes him a long time to adjust to the changing situation.

“Dementia brings with it a roller coaster of emotions, both for the person with dementia and for their family. Being a part of 'Because of Love' has given me a better understanding of the fight within people to deal with this heart-breaking disease.”

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This is Hector, played by Ian Craig. When he is diagnosed with dementia, he knows he will have to change his outlook on life but his greatest challenge will be facing up to what he will lose as the condition takes hold. 

“I never expected it to be easy playing a character with dementia - what can you base it on? Having a 102-year-old mother with serious dementia, I have found the dialogue used in this play has changed my attitude to the disease from ‘Impatient Frustration’ to ‘Sympathetic Understanding’. Whilst show rehearsals are always hard work and fun, (and this one was no exception), there have also been a few tearful moments, and quiet reflection...”

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This is Connie, played by Jackie Demkiw. When her husband is diagnosed with dementia, she vows to care for him but some challenges are difficult to bear.

“There is nothing more soul-destroying than watching someone you love disintegrate and disappear. As a wife and mother, when your family is hurting or troubled, you find a way to make things better, but you can do nothing to stop dementia. It is out of your control. You can only be by their side to love and support them through the dark days. Even with palliative care, there is always the guilt you feel by not being with your loved one 24/7. You want to, with all your heart, but your mind and body are exhausted. You do your best – because of love.”

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This is Jackie, played by Caroline Markham. When her father-in-law is diagnosed with dementia, she has to work out how to support her husband in the challenging circumstances.

“Doing this play has highlighted what families go through on a daily basis for loved ones with dementia, including my own experiences. I have a family member who suffers from this awful, life-changing illness and going through the rehearsal process, at times, can be emotionally draining and I admit to shedding a tear or two. But it has also made me revisit my own care and support that I give and why I can sometimes feel complacent and frustrated… the answer is, I just want them back! The whole process of being part of this play has made me appreciate that although our loved has changed from the person we once knew, they are here with us now and those rare moments of clarity and the moments they are able to share from the past, make everything worthwhile and the sun comes out again, if only for a moment; arguments and holding grudges are just happy memories lost.”

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This is Anthony, played by Simon Hurst. When his best friend Nathan needs help as he tackles his father’s changing situation, Anthony hopes he can support him through the challenges he faces.

“Having watched my mother live with Alzheimer’s disease in the final years of her life, I was keen to get involved in this play, particularly when I learned that it was being performed to tie in with Dementia Awareness Week. I feel it’s a great way to make more people more conscious of this cruel condition that can strike in anyone’s family.”

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This is Sarah, played by Sarah Cullingford. She offers support to all of the people she cares for who are facing the limits imposed by dementia and aids their families to understand how they can help their relatives as the condition takes hold.

“'Playing a carer trying to support the family, and explain their father's condition, is helping me to better understand it myself. It has certainly given me some insight into the difficult, demanding and hugely admirable job which dementia carers do every day, not just in caring for the person with dementia, but also in supporting their concerned loved ones.”

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This is Veronica, played by Claire May. She’s a therapist so when Nathan talks to her about the challenges he’s faced when dealing with his father’s condition, she helps him to understand his changing emotions.

“It’s important to remember that a condition like dementia doesn’t define the person they are inside.”

DIRECTORS NOTES

I was inspired to write Because of Love having heard something on the radio which made me think about dementia. Although I had no direct knowledge of the condition, I wanted to explore how people might react to a diagnosis of dementia. With this in mind, I started to research the condition by visiting online forums where the contributors were a broad range of people, with some being the carers and others having been diagnosed with dementia. It certainly provided some insight into the effects of the condition from a range of different angles.

 

Although not working on it continuously, I worked on the play over several years and once I had got to a good place, I asked a number of people for their thoughts. Some of these had experience of dementia while others could draw from their knowledge of staging theatre productions. So, with this support, I was able to complete what you will see before you this evening.

 

Dementia is a challenging condition for all those who are affected by it, be they the one diagnosed with the condition or family and friends who support them. It’s an emotional rollercoaster for all those involved so prepare to be caught in the moment - we certainly have been in rehearsals.

 

Andrew Coley Writer and director

SUPPORTING CREW

Stage manager: Andrew Coley

Stage crew: Adam Tedbury

Prompt: Sara Dowell

Front of house: Tim and Sara Leat

Technical support: Ellis Holt, John Cloke, Peter Ball

E-programme: Kat Hobbs

With thanks also to Axminster Drama Club committee and members

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

I would like to thank all those who have helped to create this play. In writing it, I have drawn from the knowledge of those who have had direct experience of dementia. I have also drawn from accounts of the condition which have been made publicly available, to inspire some of the episodes that are portrayed in this production. Publicly sharing experiences is such a good way of providing knowledge and helps those who are in similar situations.

 

In particular, I need to thank all those who have supported Axminster Drama Club at both Chardstock Community Hall and Kilmington Village Hall. John Cloke has provided his lighting expertise for the Chardstock show and Peter Ball has supported us at Kilmington with his knowledge of the venue. Both deserve our thanks for their contributions.

 

I would also like to thank all the members of Axminster Drama Club who have provided support in so many different ways and especially the cast members, who have put so much effort into their different characters.

 

Finally, we, as a club, would like to thank you, the audience, for supporting this production.

 

Andrew Coley