Michael and Gabrielle met each other when they went for a walk. Neither of them remember how they got to the park or why they left home. Both of their families are very concerned for their well-being and promptly make the decision that they need to stay in a nursing home. Michael and Gabrielle have been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.
Michael is a very strong willed and stubborn man, and his daughter Rachel is the same way. She does not like the idea of her father being in a home and is determined she can take of him herself. She makes the bold decision to do so. Her husband, Art believes his father in law should stay at the nursing home where someone will be there for him 24/7.
Then there is Gabrielle, her daughter Netty is trying her best to make her mom happy and visits often. Netty is not only dealing with her mother and her own personal issues and with her dad Virgil who has been carrying a secret that will bring Netty to tears and heartbreak.
Gabrielle and Michael may forget who each other is on a daily basis, but they have a bond like no other. They feel comfortable around each other. They care for each other very deeply and it helps them both cope. When Michael temporarily leaves the nursing home to go live with his daughter, Gabrielle becomes very lovely. Though she does end up bonding with one of the residents as they both were teachers in their youth.
In the nursing home you not only get to learn about Michael’s and Gabrielle’s life, but get to meet some of the other residents and listen to their stories.
Korda’s production of Strangers Among Us is a play that is so very real. You are drawn into the story from beginning all the way to the end. It makes you think about what you would do if somebody that you love suddenly forgets who you are and everything around them. Strangers Among Us is about learning how to hold onto relationships and memories.
Directors Tracey Atin and Candace Hind decided to have Strangers Among Us performed in a round instead of up on the stage. Theatre in the round is a fantastic way to bring the audience members directly into the show. Especially with this show as it is an emotional roller coaster ride you could see the sadness in the actors eyes.
Every single actor put their heart and soul into their performance. Talking to the actors afterwards they said they were able to draw out the emotions their characters were feeling because of a situation that happened to them or they thought about if the same thing happened to someone they cared about.
I have felt emotional when watching live performances before but I have never bawled like I did for Strangers Among Us. Looking around at the other audience members, there was not a dry eye in the theatre. I was told to bring tissues and I am so glad I did.
When actors have the ability to make the audience have a personal connection with the show like that you know they did their job. The Directors had a very clear vision on how to bring this show to life and they nailed it. If you ever get the chance to see Strangers Among Us I highly recommend it.
James Neely as Michael
Jane Toppi As Gabrielle
Michele Legere as Rachel
Clinton Hammond as Art
Allison Still as Netty
Robert Godden as Virgil
Rick Laforet as Leo
Karen Tompkins as Mary
Josephine Scebba As Robin
Janet Karcz As Mary 2
Directed by Tracey Atin and Candace Hind