'Shades of Autumn' play

Howard Johnson, left, and Steve Campbell in rehearsal for the two-man play "Shades of Autumn," which is being presented by CAST community theater to benefit a local Alzheimer's support group.

CAST community theater is presenting a free play this weekend in Anniston as a fundraiser for a local Alzheimer’s support group.

“What we’re trying to do is give something back to the community,” said CAST president Howard Johnson. “We have had a number of folks in our organization who have lost parents to Alzheimer’s” — including the director of the play, Brian Rothwell. “It’s a very real thing to them.”

The play, “Shades of Autumn,” was written in 1993 by David L. Paterson, who has since gained recognition as a screenwriter, including for the movie “Bridge to Terabithia,” which was adapted from a children’s book written by his mother, Katherine Paterson.

The two-man show —  just under an hour long — will be performed by Johnson and Steve Campbell.

After not seeing his father for many years, a man is alerted by a worried neighbor and returns home to discover his elderly father is showing signs of dementia. The son moves the father into his own apartment, and the two revisit their relationship over the past 30 years.

“They play deals with Alzheimer’s, although when it was written they hadn’t decided that was the word they were going to use. They called it ‘senility,’” Johnson said.

“This show is very funny, but at the same time also very poignant,” he added.

The set for “Shades of Autumn” consists of six wooden boxes, which stand in for dorm room beds, chairs, tables, couches — whatever they need to be.

After finding the play, Johnson called Jim Wilson, chaplain at Regional Medical Center, to ask, “If CAST was to try to raise money for your Alzheimer’s Support Group, what would you use it for?”

“He said they have a lot of caregivers who don’t have big families, and they have one person as a caregiver 24/7. If they don’t have any financial resources, they can’t hire anyone to come in for a day and give them a break, let them go shopping, things like that,” Johnson said.

“So that’s what we’re raising money for.”

The play will be presented Thursday, Friday and Sunday at the Catalyst performance space in downtown Anniston.

Admission is free, but donations will be accepted for the RMC Alzheimer’s Support Group.

Johnson said several local nursing homes and assisted living centers that have Alzheimer’s support groups have expressed interest in having CAST come and perform. “We’re hoping that, after these three performances, we can take this show on the road,” he said.

Lisa Davis is Features Editor of The Anniston Star. Contact her at 256-235-3555 or ldavis@annistonstar.com.


Features Editor Lisa Davis: 256-235-3555.