'Victoria' production looks at Alzheimer's

Victoria images“Victoria,” a multimedia theatre production that deals with Alzheimer’s disease, comes to the stage at Waterman Theatre at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 2, and Friday, Feb. 3.

The Times Globe in New Brunswick called the show “a beautifully told, magnificently performed tour-de-force by a woman who should rightfully be known from coast to coast. Those who saw Victoria will never forget her.”

“Victoria” had its French world premiere in February 1999 and has toured the United States, Canada, Europe, South America and Japan. It is a production of Dulcinea Langfelder and Company, which was founded in Montreal in 1985 by Langfelder to create and perform work that breaks disciplinary and cultural barriers.

With nods to the comedy of Tracey Ullman and Lily Tomlin, Langfelder portrays Victoria as a woman who has lost much of her memory—but not her zest for life—as she celebrates her 90th birthday. “The older I get, the more vividly I remember things that never happened,” the character says at one point.

Victoria is someone who “has lost her memory, her cat, control over her life (not to mention her bladder). She has lost almost everything,” Langfelder explained. “Victoria is but a shadow of herself; she is a character who’s forgotten her role, a puppet who adapts and adopts dramatic and comic situations as her imagination dictates. Her wheelchair is also her rocking chair, her prison, her tango partner and her flying chariot.”

Brought to the SUNY Oswego campus by Artswego, the performance is supported by the SUNY Oswego Office of International Education and Programs. It is also part of the college’s Arts and Psychology series.

“Victoria touches the soul,” said Mary Avrakotos, Artswego coordinator. “It allows you inside the world of a woman with Alzheimer’s and will particularly touch people who are caregivers for people suffering from this terrible disease.”

Artswego also has partnered with St. Luke Health Services and the Alzheimer’s Association of Central New York to sponsor some outreach programs. At 11 a.m. on Saturday, Feb. 4, at St. Luke Health Services in Oswego, Langfelder will speak about her research about Alzheimer’s in developing the role of Victoria, followed by lunch and a talk on recent developments in the treatment of the disease by Dr. Smita Kittur. Registration is free with a ticket stub from one of the performances, or $4.50. To register, call St. Luke Health Services at 342-3166.

The public is also invited to an admission-free talk by Langfelder about how she employs simple technology and a multitude of artistic disciplines to try to construct a world that is both moving and funny. At the session, which starts at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 1, in Room 102 of Tyler Hall, she will also talk about her work in progress, a performance about Dulcinea del Toboso of “Don Quixote” renown.

Tickets for the full-length performances cost $16 for adults; $12 for seniors and students; $7 for SUNY Oswego students. At the shows, the Alzheimer’s Association of CNY will provide materials that include community resources and other information for caregivers and families. 

For more information or reservations for the evening performances, contact Tyler box office at 312-2141 or tickets@oswego.edu.

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(Posted: Dec 27, 2005)