Larry Gleason


by Larry Gleason


Aileen, 40’s, a photojournalist, caregiver for Róisín
Róisín, 70’s, Aileen’s mother
Sissy, 30’s, Aileen’s sister
Paul, 20’s or 30’s, a nurse
Mrs. Dumont, an elderly nursing home resident
Young Woman
Various non-speaking Men and Women

Two readings of this play have been done with Anne Pitoniak and Jacqueline Brookes each
reading the role of 'Róisín.' Christianne Tisdale played the role of 'Aileen.'

Producers Kay Rothman and Elizabeth I. McCann both praised the play.  The play is still
looking for a theater for it's premiere.

THE DAY I FELL AWAY is exceptional because it is not just a play about Alzheimer’s.  
Alzheimer’s is merely the launching point for examining what it means to love and be loved,
to remember and be remembered by someone as close as one’s own parent.  Departing
from the straight and obvious A to Z narrative, I write in various forms, in linear scenes,
poetry, songs and a few flights of fantasy, from several characters' points of view.  From
my Irish background I pull words and music that resonate and take us out of the ordinary
creating a mood that is in turns serious and funny and personal.

A play in seven scenes.
In THE DAY I FELL AWAY, Aileen, a middle-aged woman is faced with the complexities of
being a caregiver for her mother who has Alzheimer’s.  The scenes, some linear, some not,
some with songs, monologues and fractured time, take us on Aileen’s journey from the
onset of her mother’s Alzheimer’s to her mother’s passing away.  On the way Aileen
struggles with family politics, her own personal relationship with her mother and eventually
with her own identity.

Aileen is a photojournalist and although she is the primary person in her mother’s life she is
the first in the family to be erased from her mother’s memory.  Unable to accept this she
puts her career and life on hold. She assumes the burdens of taking care of her increasingly
dependent mother in order to re-establish herself in her mother’s memory banks.

Aside from Aileen and Róisín there is a possibility for some actors to play multiple roles.
Actors that portray non-speaking roles may also play some of the minor speaking roles.  I
think this will vary according to the needs of each individual production.  There is music in
THE DAY I FELL AWAY. Róisín and Aileen should be able to carry a simple tune.  The Young
Woman needs to be able to sing an ornamented ballad in Irish.

THE DAY I FELL AWAY is set in the Catskills in upstate New York and occasionally in the
west of Ireland.  The time is the present and recent past.  It runs approximately 90 minutes.

This is my second work.  My previous work, HALONA, (THE MIDDLE PLACE, A Waking
Dream in Two Acts) received a workshop in NYC with director Eric Concklin (Torch Song
Trilogy) and a reading at HERE, also in NYC in 1998.  I gave a copy of HALONA to
playwright Ellen McLaughlin for her advice and comment.  She replied:
“First of all: I really like it.  The writing has ease and confidence and wonderful flow.  I like
the characters and I like the way you’ve rendered Native American characters who have
dimension and humor…. I think the script is fascinating.  I learned a great deal and found
the writing compelling and fine…. I’d like to support this work in any way I can.”

HALONA received favorable comments, but no production, from several regional theater
literary managers including Michele Volansky, then of Steppenwolf, and Bruce K. Sevy at
Denver Center Theatre Company

A play in nine scenes

Larry Gleason
860 Grand Concourse #7N
Bronx, NY 10451
© 2002
revised: July 1, 2002

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860 Grand Concourse #7N, Bronx, NY 10451.

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