What would you do, if you were already late on your way to the hospital, if an elderly person suddenly grasped at your legs? Further, what would you do once you’d realised that this person was identical in physical appearance to you, only much older – your future self as it were?
Don’t get me wrong, Tomorrow is not a sci-fi drama. It’s a show that explores the view of a patient suffering from dementia. Led by art director Matthew Lenton, theatre company Vanishing Point brings together an international cast and presents a dark landscape in which getting old is dreadfully instant and dementia is frighteningly puzzling. As recent statistics show that one in three people over 65 will die with dementia, the play is highly relevant too.
The show opens in a Frankenstein-type of background setting in which three laboratory technicians secretly work on the head mask of an old man. An unfortunate young man falls victim to a conspiracy and is trapped in an old man’s body after being forced to wear a head mask. As for the mask itself, well, it’s vivid enough to remind one of the facial transformations seen in the modern Mission Impossible movies. The cruelty of dementia is made almost visual on the stage.
Next, the young man finds himself sitting in a care home endlessly waiting for his daughter to visit him. The other four old people present seem to be rather content with the care offered to them, whilst he constantly falls into the past memories and persistently tries to escape. Tomorrow is both fun and saddening to watch.
Without a shadow of doubt, this was the quietest audience group I’ve ever been a part of. The entire auditorium was filled with people, yet everyone was as silent as statues. They sat speechless with brows furrowed throughout the two hours. Vanishing Point has set a wake-up call for Brighton audiences. Life is short; don’t waste your time.
Tomorrow played as part of the Brighton Fringe.