ADELAIDE FRINGE REVIEW – The Package
Set in a hospital, an old woman is presented with a package, which she is suspicious of at first, she is then bombarded with an onslaught of packages surrounding her and becoming impossible to ignore. In the first package she finds an old photo album containing images which provoke memories of specific times in her life from childhood to motherhood. As more packages are opened these memories are recreated in front of her and she is able to interact with and react to them.
The production of this play was beautifully done. It was silent in terms of dialogue but had instruments being played on set, they made use of a projector to assist with the retelling of memories and to return the audience to the scene at the hospital, the acting was well done and dolls made to look like the main character at different stages of her life were used as puppets to convey the liveliness of her memories.
The main character is portrayed as suffering from dementia. She appears to not be lucid at times as her memories seem to be happening to her in real life, she is frightened and confused at times, and when she is brought back to ‘reality’ she fights her doctors off and is treated as a non-compliant patient.
Not having much insight into what it would be like to experience dementia I cannot comment on the accuracy with which it is portrayed in this show but it felt authentic and while I feel the ‘non-compliant patient’ is a common stereotype attributed to people with dementia, it is shown from her perspective as someone who is not completely lucid and is scared and confronted by this situation.
I quite enjoyed the production and visual aspects of the show, however I felt like the story line was a little generic and while it may have been a relatable story for the majority of people in the audience I didn’t find it to be so for myself due to its focus on stereotypical heteronormative relationships.
Overall this play was visually engaging and it presented a story of dementia which I imagine is relatable for those who have been affected by it and which shows how people with dementia are treated by medical professionals. It also depicts something that we all have to face, the end of life, and this show does a good job of portraying this as something which can be accepted in old age after a life filled with treasured memories.
From the Fringe Guide;
Review by Salem Skelton