Dementia Me | Den Theatre | Theater & Performance | Chicago Reader
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click to enlarge John Michael

John Michael

Paul Clark

When: Mondays. Continues through Sept. 12 2016
Price: $10
A solo show can live or die by the energy of its performer. Dementia Me is nothing if not a high-energy display, as John Michael Colgin (who goes by "John Michael" professionally) brings quasi-manic levels of eagerness and intensity to his tale of two years spent working for a Texas "memory care center"—a nursing home for seniors suffering from dementia. In his time there, he says, he was known as “Mr. Smiles,” and it’s clear that exuberance is important to him, not only as an actor, but as someone whose job it was to shepherd the aged through impairment, forgetfulness, and terminal illness with a reassuring smile. Dementia Me makes a desperate case for joy in all things—as a palliative to intense suffering, as a meaningful distraction that can help if not heal sickness, and as good theater. John Michael heartens without making light of his subject matter. —Max Maller


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