BETHEL – “Strangers Among Us,” a powerful award-winning play about the struggles of families facing Alzheimer’s disease, will be performed Sunday, Feb. 8 at the Bethel Congregational Church.

Peg Gagnon, informational and outreach specialist with the Maine Alzheimer’s Association, will lead a discussion following the play.

Lynn Arizzi, director of the Western Mountains Senior Players for the past four years, directs the play. Cast members will carry their scripts but develop their characters and follow stage directions. Most cast members are experienced, having been members of Arizzi’s Senior Players troop for three or four years. Arizzi said the cast is inspired by the characters they portray, which teach about courage and compassion.

The play by Aaron Bushkowsky puts a gentle, loving spin on Alzheimer’s disease as the main characters, Gabrielle, played by Carole Timberlake, and Michael, played by Ross Timberlake, meet by accident, fall in love, part, meet again and fall in love again. The problem is that every time they meet, they forget each other’s names. They can’t help it. They suffer from Alzheimer’s disease.

Complicating matters are family members who have difficulty with the changes and challenges Gabrielle and Michael experience as they become more and more entangled in the bits and pieces of memory and language.

Eventually, Gabrielle and Michael end up at a long-term care facility where they meet other people suffering from the same disease, extraordinary people who live and die with courage and hope. In the end, Michael and Gabrielle find love again and, in the process, change the lives of the people around them.

Other characters in the play are Joan, Michael’s daughter, played by Lorrie Hoeh; Art, Joan’s husband, played by Jay Boschetti; Virgil, Gabrielle’s husband, played by Dan Johnson; Netti, Gabrielle’s daughter, played by Sharon Lyon; Robyn, a nurse, played by Roberta Taylor; Leo, a would-be baseball player, portrayed by Joe Arizzi; Mary, a cake maker, played by Tineke Ouwinga; Mary 2, a dancer, played by Rosabelle Tifft; and Jackie Cressy as the poet.

The play is offered by the To Your Health committee of Western Mountains Senior College as a community service. Admission is free but voluntary donations will be accepted to offset royalty fees. Refreshments will be served.

The play will run from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. in Garland Chapel on Church Street. Snow date is Feb. 22. For more information, call R. Tifft at 824-2053.


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