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The prices of rising previous: RLT’s ‘A Facility for Residing’ confronts realities of getting old in America

3 min read

My associates and I joke rather a lot about getting old. We commiserate concerning the again spasms attributable to merely loading the dishwasher and the stray grey hairs that crop up in our eyebrows. We chuckle and say, “Retirement? What’s that? Who can afford to do this?”—solely we’re probably not joking.

Growing old isn’t for the weak, particularly not right here in America, a rustic that appears to disdain the previous and worship the younger and new. It’s simpler to chuckle about that future than severely ponder it, as a result of for many people, the longer term doesn’t appear brilliant.

Reno Little Theater’s present manufacturing, A Facility for Residing by Katie Forgette, fantastically illustrates how our fears about getting old are well-founded. Just like the movie Idiocracy, this play conjures up an imagined future that’s disturbingly simple to imagine. But it’s extra uplifting than miserable; there’s nonetheless lots to chuckle about.

On this not-too-distant future, the Senior Provision Act (SPA) has been enacted, underneath the presidency of a reanimated Dick Cheney. The SPA completed just a few horrifying issues: It eradicated Medicare, and required that each one medical care, remedies and provides for situations “brought on” by the affected person (comparable to weight problems or tobacco use) have been paid for solely by the affected person. Due to the sheer variety of Child Boomers in want of senior housing, the nation’s correctional services have been emptied of inmates (who have been “outsourced”) and transformed to senior care services.

In a single such place—SPA Facility 273—head nurse Claudia (performed by Jessica Johnson) runs an awfully tight ship. With the assistance of her orderly, Kevin (Patrick Mink), and a robotic or two, she brusquely admits, dispenses remedy to, cleans, feeds, governs and chastises the depressing seniors of their care. The constructing’s sole TV station runs a loop of “appropriate” promotional content material and Ronald Reagan movies. Speaking is just allowed at restricted occasions in the course of the day, and gatherings are strictly prohibited as a consequence of hearth codes.

When a brand new resident, former actor Joe Taylor (James Winkler), checks in, he receives a impolite awakening to the indignities of life underneath the SPA. His fellow residents embody Wally (Kevin Michael), whose obesity-caused illnesses and listening to difficulties have made him an object of derision among the many employees; Mitzi (Terri Grey), a former nurse who fancies herself a member of the care group; and Judy (Wendy Feign), a bitter realist who makes use of sarcasm as a coping mechanism.

After getting the lay of the land on this dehumanizing facility, Joe realizes that the one factor worse can be a life with out hope. At his urging, the gang at Facility 273 comes up with a plan to buck the system (and Nurse Claudia)—and regain a way of objective.

As I sat at Reno Little Theater watching a last rehearsal of the present, I felt plenty of issues—worry of my very own mortality, fear about political maneuvers that have an effect on seniors, and concern for my very own getting old dad and mom, to start out. But in addition, I laughed. All of us did that evening.

If we might discover a lot of that bleak future portrayed on stage ridiculous and laughable, possibly we’ll be OK, proper? It undoubtedly provides rather a lot to consider.

Reno Little Theater’s manufacturing of A Facility for Residing is carried out at 7:30 p.m., Thursday by means of Saturday; and a pair of p.m., Sunday, by means of Sunday, Oct. 15, at 147 E. Pueblo St. Tickets are $28, with reductions. For extra data, name 775-813-8900, or go to renolittletheater.org.

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