Arts Club Theatre's Another Home Invasion - Brutal Realism & HonestyThursday, April 07, 2011
|Claire & Wanda Smith|
When Rosemary and I moved to our present house in 1986 with our two teenage daughters, we were very happy. Our house was in a nice Kerrisdale neibourhood and it was on a corner lot with a big garden. We were young and most people would comment that I looked younger than I really was. I fell for that trap of eternal youth and the idea that some day I would become old and have pain all over was distantly alien.
We made friends with the Smiths (Wanda and Claire) who lived in a magnificent house across the street. Claire was retired. I believe he had worked at the financial firm Wood Gundy. They were well off. He drove a Cadillac and she had a beautiful Chickering baby grand piano. Slowly, imperceptibly to us, they grew old. My Rosemary says they lived in that house for 60 years. One day Wanda came over to ask me to photograph her husband’s Cadillac. It had been involved in an accident. I did not suspect that Claire was getting too old to drive. Within a month we, Claire and I, were both riding the bus downtown. But Claire was all here.
They decided to sell their house when Wanda told us that Claire wasn’t doing to well. “He has his good days and he has his bad days,” She told us.
They invited us for dinner at their club, the Shaughnessy Golf Club. Claire seemed just fine.
But sold they did, and before they left Wanda gave us a couple of her splendid carpets and told us we could have her piano for $500. Included in the stuff they gave us was a first edition of Ernest Hemingway’s The Old Man and the Sea that is as least worth twice what I paid for the Chickering.
We visited Claire at a home past Richmond. He barely recognized but always lit up when I asked him for the ingredients of the perfect martini. He also remembered the Chickering. Wanda, the last we heard, when she was in her mid 90s went to live with her daughter in Utah.
Now both Rosemary and I live that same reality although at the moment seem to be all here even if our memory fails us here and there. I have told Rosemary that we will sell the house when one of us cannot help the other in the garden. I look at all our possessions and wonder about the pain of getting rid of some them that are valuable only to us. I wonder about our books and our precious plants.
When we went to see the Another Home Invasion, a Tarragon Theatre production at the Revue Stage (Arts Club Theatre on Granville Island) last night we were subjected to a scary and most realistic old woman, Nicola Lipman (Jean in this one woman play). It had such realism that Rosemary looked at me and said, “We didn’t need this today.”
Rosemary and I have been considering our future these days. I have been suffering from the terrible pain of psoriatic arthritis. We are getting old.
Lipman’s take on the reality of living with a husband who is suffering from a slow dementia was horrific. Her quirks of being an old woman clashed in the end when she came back as herself (to a standing ovation) and her back was straight. She seemed many years younger.
I think that this play will help Rosemary and I arrive at a decision of perhaps leaving while the going is good as we wouldn’t:
1. Want to move to Abbotsford or Burnaby (mentioned most seriously by Jean and many in the audience laughed!)
2. Rosemary and I would want to leave and live together in a small condo or small house.
For anybody who might think that youth is eternal, this play is a good antidote and it will help you make a decision before events make the decision for you.
Another Home Invasion was directed by Richard Rose and the play was written by Joan MacLeod. The play was originally co-produced with Alberta Theatre Project. It runs until April 23.
Some of you reading this might not know that parking on Granville Island after 7pm is free!