My Father's Bookshelf is a new work about dementia, neuroscience, and the mortality of families. Part family drama, part lecture, and part clowning comedy, this engaging performance springs from Live Action Set's uniquely collaborative style. It tells the story of a man afflicted with Alzheimer's, his family, and scientific response to a disease that eats at the essence of human society: our ability to communicate. A basic introduction to the latest developments in neuroscience research is at the heart of My Father's Bookshelf. Used to highlight the dramatic gap between contemporary Alzheimer's research and practical application, it explores the tragic humor of decline and the inspirational relevance of science.
Cast: Robert Rosen, Barbra Berlovitz, Dario Tangelson, Jason Ballweber, Megan Odell
Director: Noah Bremer
Assistant Director / Dramaturg: Galen Treuer
Set and Lighting Designer Paul Whitaker
Sound Designer Guy Messenger
Costume Designer Anna Lee
Stage Manager Stacy Davis Spensley
Assistant Stage Manager Alexandra Gowdy-Jaehnig
Live Action Set’s ‘Bookshelf’ a moving wonder on a disintegrating mind
by Quinton Skinner (Pioneer Press)
A quick perusal of science articles from 2009 indicates progress in understanding the process of memory formation, including the witnessing of long-term memories being created on the synaptic level. Still, there's a sense that a breakthrough in treating (or preventing) Alzheimer's disease is somewhere over the horizon — an apprehension surely shared by those who suffer from it, and their families. Live Action Set tackles the matter in "My Father's Bookshelf," with bittersweet and disturbing results. Tracking the mental disintegration of a one-time engineer named Bob (Robert Rosen, in a powerfully understated performance), this unconventional performance piece depicts the descent into Alzheimer's oblivion with soul, painful depth and complex ambiguity.
Lightness boosts serious theme
by Rohan Preston (Star Tribune)
Who knew that memory loss could be so fetching and fun? In "My Father's Bookshelf," a Live Action Set mixture of movement and lecture that premiered over the weekend at the Guthrie Theater, a man suffering from Alzheimer's gets dressed in formal clothes but forgets to put on shoes. The illness is the subject and inspiration of this production, directed by Noah Bremer and Galen Treuer as if it were fluid choreography.
My Father’s Bookshelf
by Kelly Krantz (METRO Magazine online / metromag.com)
I didn’t ever think that a play about Alzheimer’s disease would make me giggle, yet the show "My Father’s Bookshelf" did just that. Local company Live Action Set has created what they call a “tragic comedy” and the description fits. There were definitely sniffles all around, especially in the moving second act, but surprisingly many laughs were to be had as well.
My Father’s Bookshelf at the Guthrie
by David DeYoung (HowWasTheShow)
By some estimates 5 million Americans are now living with Alzheimers, a degenerative and ultimately terminal disease that causes irreversible destruction of memory and reasoning ability. Sadly, the disease is becoming so familiar, one in seven Americans is now closely related to someone with the disease. My Father’s Bookshelf, a new production from Live Action Set tackles the subject of Alzheimers head on with sensitivity and humor in a way that will hit home for many theater-goers.
Bold, funny 'My Father's Bookshelf'
by Ed Huyck (MinnPost)
You’ll have to move quickly, but it would be worth heading up to the Dowling Studio at the Guthrie Theater over the next week to see "My Father’s Bookshelf," the latest creation from the manic folks at Live Action Set. Bold, funny and more than a little confounding, "My Father’s Bookshelf" delves into the world of Alzheimer’s via the experience of a single family. The patriarch, played by Theatre de la Jeune Lune vet Robert Rosen, has been slipping for years. We learn of his plight via his wife (fellow former Jeune Luner Barbra Berlovitz) his children and various doctors, therapists and lecturers (played by Jason Ballweber, Megan Odell and Dario Tangelson).
My Father's Bookshelf is made possible by the generous support of: The Jerome Foundation, The Metropolitan Regional Arts Council, ElderCare Consultants, The Alton, and the individual patrons of Live Action Set.
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MY FATHER'S BOOKSHELF AT THE GUTHRIE (PREMIERE: THE GUTHRIE THEATER'S DOWLING STUDIO, 2009)
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