5th July 2022
In the Light of Day
by Magdalena Schamberger
I had the initial idea for In the Light of Day during the first covid lockdown in 2020. I was thinking of care home residents, particularly those living with dementia, who during that period, were only able to experience touch & physical connection via disposable plastic gloves and PPE equipment. I was therefore wondering, if focusing on hands, gloves and gestures might help to reimagine beauty and tenderness.
From the very beginning, people living with dementia were at the heart of my research and approach. I picked all my creative collaborators because of their professional and/or personal experience engaging with people living with dementia. During our initial research & development phase in 2020 & 2021, we partly worked online, exploring how to showcase hands and gloves. This led to the creation of Glove Stories, films to be watched alongside our performance. We developed the initial films with input and feedback from care home residents.
Once we were able to spend time together in a rehearsal space, we devised artistic material, which was performed for people living with dementia in July 2021. Their responses and feedback has shaped the full production of our In the Light of Day 2022 tour.
In the Light of Day uses a mix of structured scenes and invitations to engage, with room for improvisation and participation. We use very few words and there is no obvious pressure to follow a storyline. We concentrate on emotional memory and engagement and gently invite our audience to participate on their terms or to simply sit back and watch.
In my experience, focusing on simplicity, clarity, rhythm & repetition are some of the secret ingredients to engaging with audiences with dementia. We have added live music, strong images and humour into the mix, which not only make the piece more enjoyable, but also help to hold attention and evoke responses. Our costume and set design is drawn from a particular colour palette, contrast and tonality, widely recognised to be easily visible by the ageing eye. The live music, composed for the show, invites our audiences to move, sing, hum, harmonise or whistle along. A particular delight is when our audiences join us for a boogie at the end of the performance.
In the Light of Day tells a simple and universal story of love, longing, household chores and the wish for connection. It is my hope that it provides an opportunity for somebody with dementia to see a piece of high-quality theatre, without it being a stressful or worrying experience for them or their carers. We hope you will come and join us for a performance