The new play, Forget About Tomorrow, is now playing at The Arts Club Theatre Company’s Goldcorp Stage at the BMO Theatre Centre. The new and personal work from Jill Daum, one of the Mom’s The Word Collective, takes the audience through the journey of a family’s trials as the patriarch is diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s. Playwright Jill Daum understands this journey all too well, going through a similar experience with her husband, singer/actor John Mann (Spirit of the West), who also has the disease. Mann provides some of the music sung by characters in the play.
Forget About Tomorrow, centres on empty-nesters Jane and Tom, played by the captivating Jennifer Lines and Craig Erickson. The couple live comfortably while facing everyday stresses like keeping their daughter (Aleita Northey) in university in Toronto, and concern for son (Aren Okemaysim) who’s just moved to Montreal to pursue a music career with few prospects of income. The family’s comfortable existence is shattered when a scan confirms the diagnosis, at the end of the first act.
As they deal with the thought of Tom slowly forgetting their lives,the emotional toil wears on the couple as well as their distant children and the characters evolve. Tom is angry and Jane spends more time at work, a retail shop The Nest. Her boss and friend Lori, played in broad-style by Colleen Wheeler, provides much needed comic-relief. Also at work, she meets customer Wayne (Hrothgar Mathews), at first a kindly and flirtatious grandfather but as the play progresses as he aggressively pursues her romantically becoming almost predatory.
Unfortunately, the lack of chemistry between Mathews and Lines makes Wayne a hard character to invest in, no matter how much we care about Jane. The children mainly appear by webcam calls but Northey and Okemaysim make the most of their two-dimensional characters. Knowing that this is semi-autobiographical brings added depth and intrigue to the play, the audience is left to imagine how much is real and how much is fiction, the truth is probably somewhere in-between but the emotions generated are 100% genuine. The play will no doubt serve as support to those who have experienced a similar journey, knowing another family has gone through this as well.
Set Designer Pam Johnson has built a creatively simple turntable stage that easily serves as both The Nest and the family home, and as the cloud descend over the family, Brian Kenney’s Light Design turns the bright and neutral blonde-wood set into a grey.
The Arts Club Theatre Company production of Forget About Tomorrow runs at the Goldcorp Stage at BMO Theatre Centre until March 25, 2018. Purchase tickets online at artsclub.com