january 2018 | Volume 163
Craig Erickson and Jennifer Lines. Set and costume design by Pam Johnson and lighting design by Bryan Kenney. Photo by David Cooper .
In 2014, Spirit of the West singer John Mann publicly revealed his diagnosis with Alzheimer’s. What most people didn’t know, however, was that his wife, Jill Daum, had started writing a play based on their experience with the disease.
The result, Forget About Tomorrow, is a dramatic comedy that weaves together the experiences of Jane (Jennifer Lines), Tom (Craig Erickson), and their two adult children (Aren Okemaysim and Aleita Northey) in the months following Tom’s diagnosis with early-onset Alzheimer’s. Each family member struggles with their own fears, questions, memories, and purposes, and the family’s unity is put into peril when Jane questions her loyalty to a man who will ultimately forget her name.
When Daum first started writing the play, Mann was eager to contribute. The last two songs he ever wrote were for the play. “Working on the music was as cathartic for him as writing the words were for me,” Daum says. “And finding the humour together was a healing endeavour.”
Daum adds, “I’ve never understood why anyone would want to slow down and stare at an accident. I avert my eyes from that kind of hardship. What I want to gaze at, long and hard, is someone surviving hardship and overcoming their adversity. I find that healing and helpful. As I met with other women who were dealing with this shit storm of a disease, I became more and more committed to constructing the narrative of a family struggling to find their acceptance of such a cruel diagnosis.”
Craig Erickson, who plays Tom, says, “Being brought into the brave and specific world of the caregiver that Jill Daum has deftly created in Forget About Tomorrow is an artistic thrill. To specifically play Tom, whose creation is inspired by one of this country’s great artists, Jill's husband John Mann, is a deep honour that necessarily informs each and every performance.”
Forget About Tomorrow is the Arts Club’s 13th Silver Commissions Project produced since the new play development program was established in 2006. Other notable commissions include Onegin (Amiel Gladstone and Veda Hille), The Waiting Room (John Mann and Morris Panych), and Tear the Curtain! (Kim Collier, Jonathon Young, and The Electric Company).
Starring Jennifer Lines (Jane), Craig Erickson (Tom), Colleen Wheeler (Lori), Aren Okemaysim (Aaron), Aleita Northey (Wynn), Hrothgar Mathews (Wayne)
Director Michael Shamata Set and Costume Designer Pam Johnson Lighting Designer Bryan Kenney Projection Designer Candelario Andrade Sound Designer James Coomber Stage Manager Caryn Fehr Assistant Stage Manager Christopher Sibbald
March 1–March 25, 2018 (Media opening: March 7)
Tue–Thu at 7:30 PM, Fri & Sat at 8 PM, Wed at 1:30 PM, and Sat & Sun at 2 PM
ABOUT THE ARTS CLUB
The Arts Club Theatre Company, founded in 1964, is Canada’s largest not-for-profit urban theatre company. Led by Artistic Managing Director Bill Millerd, Incoming Artistic Director Ashlie Corcoran, and Executive Director Peter Cathie White, it offers professional theatre at three venues—the Stanley Industrial Alliance Stage, Granville Island Stage, and the Goldcorp Stage at the BMO Theatre Centre—as well as on tour throughout the province.
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