Jean Sings: Rosie Dances by Thomas Putnam
In HGWP'S holiday offering called SHORTS AND SWEETS this weekend, there is a short play called "Rosie the Rockette." It's short, maybe just 10 minutes, and there really isn't much that happens. That being the nature of a ten-minute play, the slice of life that is portrayed is packed with stuff which at first appears to be of no consequence but upon consideration is packed with stuff worth thinking about.
There are three generations: a grandmother Rosie, her daughter, and her two granddaughters. Rosie was a Rockette, a precision dancer. And here she is now, moving in and out of present day consciousness, being visited during the holidays by her daughter and grandchildren. Rosie has dementia.
My own mother, Jean Helen Webster Putnam, had Alzheimers. We kept her at home as long as possible, but finally had to move her into a nursing home, at which she died four months later. On her last night, she sang. She could not carry on a conversation or even speak clearly enough to be understood. She appeared to not know present realities. But she sang. That night in May we sang the songs we used to sing in the car on family trips or when we sat on the front porch of the cottage on summer nights long ago. She sang.
Rosie dances. It's her reality. Ten minute plays can't develop a character much, but in this little play we get a taste of this slice of life quite clearly, and simply. Kathryn Sheneman's Rosie moves in and out of the present that is at times painful for us, as it certainly is for her daughter, and confusing for her grandchildren. There are some funny moments that help us to swallow the difficulty of such a family situation, that for many of us is all too familiar.
SHORTS AND SWEETS if filled with some songs, some readings of holiday letters, and a few other short ten-minute slices of life. From what I've seen in bits of rehearsals, the production is just what it is titled: a bit of this and that, of some sorrow and lots of joy and mirth, of nostalgia and hope. You have just three chances to enjoy this holiday confection so don't tarry in calling for your tickets (570.724.2079.) Friday night at 7:30--with an opening night reception immediately following; and two shows on Saturday at 2:30 and 7:30 all at the Warehouse Theatre. (And don't forget the MESSIAH Community Sing on Sunday at 2:30 at St. Paul's which will round out HG's 2023 Season.)