Last Thursday, I went to a preview of Dementia at the LATC. I hadn’t been to the Los Angeles Theatre Center in a number of years but have always liked the theatre.
I didn’t know much about Dementia other than it had won some GLAAD award. We were given some background that it was first staged in 2002 and we noticed the playwright, Evelina Fernandez was also acting in her own play.
Although the play was centered around Moe, a gay Chicano dying of AIDS, there were definitely some strong female characters. Fernandez plays Raquel, Moe’s estranged ex-wife. Moe is cared for by his pregnant 16-year-old niece who later stoically has to go through with Moe’s “Plan B.” Moe also has three best friends who come to his last hurrah. And the final character, Moe’s alter-ego, a singing drag queen completes the cast.
As an artist, I love details and design. The set was stunning with the huge blue bodies and most of the play centers on the sick bed where Moe was often groaning from.
I should mention there were some jokes and phrases in Spanish and though I don’t speak Spanish, I did grow up on the East side where the play is set so I got jokes.
In our society, AIDS isn’t talked about enough and the implications of unprotected sex but this play wasn’t about regrets or even the illness. It is about life and loving the people in your life. And forgiving them for their mistakes because you are not beyond mistakes as well.
If you are interested in musicals, gay themes, Chicano culture or just an interesting play, I definitely recommend Dementia.
Dementia is at the LATC until the end of May.