Jackson County Community Theatre’s 2018-19 season begins at 7:30 p.m. Sept. 7 with the presentation of Nagel Jackson’s “Taking Leave” at Royal Off-the-Square Theatre, 121 W. Walnut St., Brownstown.
The drama also will be presented at 7:30 p.m. Sept. 8, 14 and 15.
Tickets are available online at jcct.org or at Family Drug in Brownstown and Artistic Impressions in Seymour and are $12 for adults and $10 for students and seniors.
The play, published in 2000, concerns a situation many individuals and families face: Making the most of life when a loved one is no longer capable of independence. Though the subject is serious, this show treats it with gentle humor and a creative approach.
In the middle of the night, Eliot Pryne, professor of English litrature — specialty Shakespeare — is packing what he thinks is a suitcase and leaving what he thinks is a hotel. In the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease, he is “taking leave” of the real world and imagining a new one, but the transition is painful.
His alter ego, Eliot-1, mostly unseen except by the audience, charts this final voyage speaking as Eliot once did when he was the leading authority on Shakespeare’s King Lear.
The visit of Eliot’s three daughters, Alma, Liz and Codelia, forms the central event of this oddly comic, yet fully sympathetic play. The decision — whether or not have Father put in a “home” — provides the central conflict among the three very different sisters: The public school counselor, Alma; the television actress, Liz; and the never-do-well vagabond, Cordelia, who arrives in her black leather motorcycle outfit fresh from a year in Paris and a history of drug abuse.
Eliot’s caregiver, Mrs. Fletcher, fills out the cast as the one constant and steady person in his life. As in Shakespeare’s play, it is the young Cordelia who assumes responsibility for her father and leaves us with the bittersweet realization that, while all will not be well, Eliot’s taking leave will be a gentle one.
The season’s only drama, “Taking Leave” treats an important subject not too heavily and lives up to its many accolades. The family dynamics and the absurdity that often accompany dementia make for many humorous scenes.
Cast members are Horace Tucker as Eliot, Jordan McKinley as Eliot-1 (the Eliot still holding onto his reason), Karen Haas, Stacey Williams and Megan Keller as the three daughters and Kathy Nelson as Mrs. Fletcher, the caregiver. Paul Angie is directing, Matt Nieman is production manager and Job Willman is stage manager.
Because of a small amount of strong language and innuendo and the theme of the play, JCCT does not recommend this show for young children.
The season is sponsored by a grant from Columbus Area Arts Council, Indiana Arts Commission and National Endowment for the Arts.
Other shows in the season include “Fruitcakes,” Nov. 30, Dec. 1, 2, 7 and 8; “9 to 5, The Musical,” a dinner theater at The Pines Evergreen Room, on Feb. 15, 16, 17, 22 and 23; and “Half & Half,” April 26 and 27 and May 3 and 4.
JCCT’s youth theater, Jackson County Young Artists’ Theatre, will present “Little Women” on Jan. 25, 26 and 27.