Directors' Choice Award Winner
No Parking (Alice Lost and Found)
A Musical in One Act for Seven Characters, Piano, Cello and Clarinet
Book and Lyrics: Elizabeth Bassine, Music: Roger Ames
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Alice – elegant, but in a world she no longer knows – and doesn’t want to
Matron -- this the focus of her life, saddened by her inability to make life any easier for her charges
Sara – finding joy in the unique/loving bond, allowing the challenge of Alzheimer’s to fade as it removes all earlier challenges between mother and daughter
Clara – cheeky redhead, cheshire cat-like, appearing/disappearing, stuck in her abused
Walter – big, comfortable, walrus of a man, offering hugs and remnants of wisdom
Manny –a neurotic mad hatter ex-entertainer who adds merriment despite himself
Jerry – more the reflective looking glass than anything he once was
Dodger – dog/white rabbit helping Alice find her way ‘home’
Music as character: Musicians seated to side stage, lit when dramaturgy requires. The
music is an organic dimension .…suggesting, anticipating, and expressing the characters’
state-of-mind, sometimes confused, sometimes expansive, sometimes intimate… always
revealing personal truths and the shared truth of musical memory.
An equally impressionistic concept can suffice to depict the nursing home
environment…. serving to describe the bare quality of lives depleted of any richness,
save the vibrant nature of what remains of the residents themselves.
This is the story of Alice who would never have foreseen approaching the end of her life as anyone other than the woman she’d always been. But as fate and human frailty would have it, Alice is now a muddle of who she was just yesterday, ten years before, a lifetime ago, but also as a perceptive seer of her future.
Using the metaphor of Lewis Carroll’s Alice and her journey, our Alice ages as a victim of Alzheimer’s disease. She attempts to conduct herself as she always has, but as that becomes more and more difficult, she embraces the concept of the white rabbit as death -- the only true and appropriate escape from a good life, completed.
The goal of this piece is to present the disease as a state-of-being,….inescapable, yet with its own internal logic (like Carroll), and dignity (as it is, after all, the condition into which our characters have morphed, through no decision of their choosing).
Unlike other projects’ purpose of depicting the disease, ours is not to portray it as freakish or marginalized, but rather to work within its own universe. In so doing, I hope to provide a less polarized view of the Alzheimer’s journey, allowing eccentricity, insight, and redemption to be attained by our characters, and appreciated by their audience.
And so Alice and her cohorts spend their days captive in unfamiliar territory. All still retain unique personal characteristics with which they attempt to harness strength. Together they give and take the love and support they need to make it through each day. They drift in and out of their ability to connect to themselves and to one another (most often through music)– sometimes slowly, sometimes with a swiftness that reveals how quickly they are losing control of the present.
The concept of time passing and the inevitability and appropriateness of passing with it, never eludes Alice. As a matter of fact, the confusion and heartache are to an extent mollified by her sense of a more cosmic condition….of which she is part. The more desperate the circumstance, the greater the acuity with which she seems to embrace the remainder of her journey.
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