Passionate ‘Breadcrumbs’ at Group Rep a moving look at Alzheimer’s

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A thoughtful, timely look at a dreadful disease, Breadcrumbs examines the meanings and impact of words, dreams and identity through excellent writing and touching acting. It demonstrates how breadcrumbs act as guideposts pointing homeward while also showing how much one’s lost.

Reclusive novelist Alida (Lareen Faye) exhibits the first signs of dementia, coming to depend on flighty young caretaker Beth (Lisa McGee Mann) to finish writing her autobiography. Can their symbiotic battle of wills help each resolve issues and find peace?

Writer Jennifer Haley’s play provides a challenging but honest look at the tangled emotional forest of dementia, examining how we shape identity and meaning as memory fades away. It considers the definition of self and loneliness as each character reveals their past.

Director Bert Emmett emphasizes mother/daughter relationships and facing ourselves in his passionate production, one full of fire and energy but that occasionally becomes too strident.

The two performers create a powerful tension in their give and take, seeming opposites vulnerable and worried over the same things. Intense and tough, Faye captures a proud, passionate woman hanging on for dear life, while Mann’s scattered Beth searches for confidence and direction.

A moving examination of identity and finding one’s way through the powerlessness of dementia, Breadcrumbs provides an emotional and entertaining evening of theatre.

The Group Rep Theatre presents “Breadcrumbs” Saturdays at 2pm and Sundays at 7pm through October 14 at the Upstairs at the Group Rep of the Lonny Chapman Theatre located at 10900 Burbank Blvd. in North Hollywood. Tickets cost $20, $15 for students and seniors with ID. The September 15 and 29 performances feature talkbacks with cast and crew. For further information or to buy tickets visit TheGroupRep.com or call (818) 763-5990.

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