By Darci Picoult
Directed by Jo Bonney
Originally produced at Long Wharf, New Haven, CT.
January 6,2010 through February 7, 2010
About the Premiere Production: To celebrate her 90th birthday, Lillian Eldridge plans to fulfill a lifelong dream by performing a cabaret show. Amidst arriving family members, party preparations and band rehearsals, signs begin emerging that Lil’s husband Charlie is losing his memory and, in an effort to surprise his wife with the ultimate birthday gift, losing the family’s savings. What happens when love’s power is refracted by the prism of dementia is a central question posed by the world premiere production of Darci Picoult’s Lil’s 90th. By turns humorous and tragic, the story of the Eldridges’ struggle illuminates, simultaneously, the desire for independence richly deserved and the mind’s obstacles to its attainment.
Artistic Statement: Inspired by the experiences of her father-in-law and family, Darci Picoult’s play Lil’s 90th explores the effects of caring for aging loved ones and how we can, and must, cope. There is a Sufi saying that two veils separate us from the divine: health and security; aging is the process through which we lose both. A variety of setbacks – physical, social, emotional, financial – jeopardize our freedom from relying on others for our needs. Darci’s play speaks directly to a major demographic shift in America: the number of persons aged 65 years and older is expected to double by 2030. As in her previous play My Virginia, in Lil’s 90th Darci uses the backdrop of everyday life to emphasize the universal qualities of her characters’—often drawn from real life—struggles. Due both to its artistic merit and its marriage of universal and intensely personal content, we’re sure that Lil’s 90th will see a strong future life, and we’re thrilled to embark on its journey with this exciting theatre artist.
Darci’s work creates opportunities for rich discussion. The loss of and struggle for independence, the devastating effects of Alzheimer’s disease, and the growing issue of elder fraud are some of the many topics on which Lil’s 90th can begin conversations with our community. Last season Long Wharf hosted a unique forum during the world premiere production of Athol Fugard’s Coming Home, in which health leaders from across the globe came together to discuss the intersection of global health concerns, the American theatre and the scientific and at-large communities. We’re excited to have another opportunity to connect communities with Darci’s play at the center of it all.
Set Design:Frank Alberino
Lighting Design:Lap Chi Chu
Cast:Lillian: Lois Smith
Charlie: David Margulies
Stephanie: Kristine Nielsen