The Dallas Morning News

Caregiver struggles with romance in ‘Let It Be Me’

- By NANCY CHURNIN Theater Critic nchurnin@dallasnews.com Twitter: @nchurnin

PLANO — It’s oddly fitting that theater, which produces art that dissolves after each moment passes, should do such an exquisite job capturing the poignancy of Alzheimer’s disease, in which the brain’s ability to make sense and put words to thoughts is battered over time like a sand castle by waves.

Theatre Britain’s touching Let It Be Me by British playwright Carey Jane Hardy explores this territory, with the focus on a caregiver, Amy (Octavia Y. Thomas), who unexpected­ly finds herself with a last chance at romance (with Gregory, an antique book expert played by Robert San Juan).

Sue Birch’s direction brings out a cozy realism to the interactio­ns that unfold on Anthonyka Ferdinand’s elegant set.

Resisting the impulse to shout out feelings, volumes are spoken in the way Thomas and San Juan exchange longing looks across the gulf of seemingly impossible circumstan­ces.

Similarly, Ivy Opdyke’s portrayal of Amy’s aunt is most wrenching in her nonverbal moments, as she walks through what should be an old, familiar room, uncertain of what she’s looking for.

Friends Kate and Trixie (Marilyn Setu and Dana Harrison) and Amy’s cousin (Christian R. Black) provide a welcome splash of wry wit to Amy’s sweetness.

Amy’s difficulty in putting her needs before others, much like some of the characters in Ivanhoe, the old book that brings Gregory into Amy’s life, is a reminder of the quixotic quest on which caregivers embark for those they love without expectatio­n of thanks or reward.

 ?? Michael C. Foster ?? From left: Robert San Juan plays Gregory, Ivy Opdyke plays Sylvia and Octavia Y. Thomas plays Amy, a caregiver who finds herself with a last chance at romance in Let It Be Me.
Michael C. Foster From left: Robert San Juan plays Gregory, Ivy Opdyke plays Sylvia and Octavia Y. Thomas plays Amy, a caregiver who finds herself with a last chance at romance in Let It Be Me.

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