By Wendy Carson
When a parent suffers from dementia, the struggle to assist and deal with them can be overwhelming to the family, especially if her only son is the one the task falls to.
In “Dancing in the Mist” by Marcel Nunis, presented by RibbitRePublic at the Musicians Union Hall, Kurt Fitzpatrick plays Mike, who catalogs the challenges faced in becoming the primary caretaker for his mother, Gillie, played by Xan Scott. There are lies that must be told, bargains that must be struck, songs to be sung, various characters to be played and a wealth of sorrow for the both of them. Still, he does what he can to make the best of it for both parties involved.
Since she so often slips into memories of the past, he gets a surprising and tender glimpse into the woman she one was. He finds out much more of her history than he bargained for, including references to the mysterious “Max.” We also get glimpses into Mike’s highly-stressed mind.
Meanwhile, Scott artistically portrays a woman struggling to live with her malady and hold onto every piece of her past and sanity that she can.
This is an expertly crafted drama with gentle humor that can help serve as a guide and warning of how to behave if or when you are faced with this challenge yourself.
John Lyle Belden contributed to this review.