Harold Pinter play looked at from Alzheimer’s perspective at Manchester theatre

Harold Pinter’s first play is to be reworked to include a woman with Alzheimer’s as the lead character in support of World Alzheimer’s Month, with the production being brought to Manchester’s Joshua Brooks Theatre.

The Room introduced the theme ‘comedy of menace’, which was recurrent amongst most of Pinter’s early works and is being reworked by the JustTalk Theatre Company.

The play is JustTalk Theatre’s second production in Manchester and their first venture into published writing in the North West.

They believe that the audience should never be given the full picture, and the forefront of all their work is the power of the unsaid, which is fitting for an adaptation of Pinter’s earliest work, as he brought to the stage one of the first variations of absurdist theatre.

The reworking is a challenging interpretation of Pinter’s play, focussing on Rose, a married woman who has created a life for herself within a single room.

It explores the effects of Alzheimer’s and Dementia on an individual and how they find their way through a world they can no longer trust.

Rose lives in seeming harmony with her husband Bert, but her contentment is disrupted by a succession of unwanted visitors, some from her past, and some from elsewhere.

Speaking about the development of the production, assistant director and producer Catt Belcher stated that JustTalk have created ‘a really interesting and fresh story adapted from Pinter’s iconic absurdist text.’

“No one has ever looked at any of Pinter’s writing from an Alzheimer’s perspective before” she said.

“We delved into the original, changing our view of the main character as a woman with Alzheimer’s, and then shaping the other characters around it and how they interact with her.”

The whole production is being supported by the Alzheimer’s Society and is being produced to raise awareness of the effects of this disease, whilst World Alzheimer’s Month is marked in September every year.

In addition to the play, after each performance there will be a Q&A session, with the cast as well as a representative from the Alzheimer’s Society, to answer questions about the production and the disease.

The Room will be playing at Joshua Brooks Theatre in Manchester on Monday September 21, and then from Monday September 28 – Wednesday September 30, 19:30pm.

Tickets are available here.

Image courtesy of The Huntington, via Flickr, with thanks.

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