Pirates of Harrison Bay, a family-friendly radio play, premiers Tuesday, September 29 at Old Log Theatre.
The area’s first-ever, large-scale theater production starring seniors with memory loss, Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias will take the stage at a public performance at 1 p.m. Tuesday, September 29 at the Old Log Theatre, 5185 Meadville St., Excelsior, MN. The event is free and open to the public.
Written by Minneapolis-based playwright J.B. Eckert, Pirates of Harrison Bay is a radio drama-format play about the importance of imagination and friendship in a world of smartphones and stressed-out parents.
The actors, singers and chamber musicians are participants in Sojourn Adult Day Services, a Mound-based provider of artistic and therapeutic activities for seniors and adults with special needs. Eckert, a radio and TV broadcaster who has directed theater productions at the Bloomington Theatre and Art Center and Minneapolis Theater Garage, wrote the original drama expressly for the Sojourn troupe.
Set on the shores of Lake Minnetonka’s Harrison Bay, the family-friendly story traces the relationship between an overprotected boy and a lonesome retiree. Singers and shadow puppetry brings their imaginations to life, as a merry band of magical pirates close in on them.
Sojourn owner Sally Hebson, who operates eight residential care suites in the Lake Minnetonka area, has been on the forefront of senior care issues since founding Sojourn in 1984. “In all my years as a health care professional, I know of no other artistic and community performance like this,” says Hebson. “We’re extremely proud to be part of this ground-breaking production that proves age and disabilities are no barrier to creativity, energy and talent.”
“More than three months of rehearsal went into this performance, but I’m the one who’s learned the most,” says Eckert. “It was an experiment in many ways, and one that proves a point—that actors with memory issues may not always remember their lines, but they always bring the talent and enthusiasm that made them who they were—and still are.”
The all-volunteer production team includes assistance from Old Log Theatre staff and owners Greg and Marissa Frankenfield who donated the use of their 561-seat state-of-the-art auditorium and lobby. “We’re pleased to host this unique venture and to showcase the newly remodeled Old Log Theatre as not just a regional artistic asset, but as a community asset to this exceptional area,” says Marissa Frankenfield.
A public reception follows the performance.