“Fortune Cookies,” is free community event that helps family members, caregivers, local businesses, and the broader community talk about brain health, dementia and the most well-known form of memory loss, Alzheimer’s disease. All community members are welcome to attend any of these three local events:

  • June 7th, 5:00-7:30 p.m., Shell Lake Arts Center, 802 1st St., Shell Lake
  • June 8th, 11:00 a.m.-1:30 p.m., Tee-Away Golf & Supper Club, 1401 E 11th St., Ladysmith
  • June 8th, 5:00-7:30 p.m., The Mill, 646 Banks St., Chetek

Hosted by the Aging & Disability Resource Center of Barron, Rusk, & Washburn Counties (ADRC), and part of the Remember Project, “Fortune Cookies” takes a unique approach to building awareness, sharing information, and inviting authentic community conversations. Audience members come together for a meal and then watch the play together, followed by a facilitated conversation. The events are free, though registration is required and seating is limited; register at https://nwwi-fortune2022.eventbrite.com or call 1-888-538-3031.

“We don’t like to think about it, let alone talk about it…our brain health! Health care providers check our heart, lungs, and blood vessels, but when is the last time they asked your how your brain is doing? Especially after the last couple of years of isolation, stress, and fatigue, it’s exciting to bring the performing arts to our continuing effort to help people to create dementia-friendly communities and take charge of their own brain health,” says Trisha Witham, Dementia Care Specialist.

In “Fortune Cookies,” Mona is a high-energy entrepreneur who always has a project on the front burner. She is the life of the party and her enthusiasm is funny and charming. Though at age 80 Mona’s memory is sharp, she fears the idea of memory loss and has seen too much of it among friends and neighbors. With Mona as our guide in this fast-moving 16-minute play, we learn she has a plan to counter the effects of future memory loss and she is willing to go to great lengths to do so! As the audience gets to know Mona and her son, David, they find themselves with an opportunity to consider one of the biggest hurdles to creating truly dementia-friendly communities: the need to understand how knowledge and compassion are essential to keeping families out of crisis.

“Our ultimate goal,” said Danette McCarthy, Remember Project founder & director, “is to assist community members and leaders consider new ways to think about memory loss and become aware of local resources that support families who are dealing with a diagnosis of dementia or Alzheimer’s disease.”

“My mother had dementia and lived in a memory care facility for almost four years,” said the play’s author, Bonnie Dudovitz, who is based in the Twin Cities. “She was always afraid of ending up with dementia, as are so many people, especially when they see it around them. I wrote this play to highlight those kinds of fears and for the audience to think about how those fears affect others. It’s not just the fear of actually losing your memory or your faculties – it’s also the process of how that happens. How will you be treated by friends and loved ones? How can we change that? I hope the audience will think about how they cope with their own fears about memory loss and the way that affects how they relate to people with dementia.”

In this Remember Project event, Mona and David are played by professional actors under the direction of Danette McCarthy and Jim Pounds of Twin Cities (learn more at www.rememberproject.org). To date, over 200 live, virtual, and hybrid Remember Project events and conversations have taken place to raise awareness and address the stigma, isolation, and fear associated with dementia. There are three other plays produced by the Remember Project: “Steering into the Skid”, “Riding the Waves” and “In the Garden.”

Hosted by the ADRC, the program is also sponsored by Mayo Clinic, The Mill, Shell Lake Arts Center, & Tee-Away Golf & Supper Club. To learn more or to register for the event please use this Eventbrite link: https://nwwi-fortune2022.eventbrite.com or call 1-888-538-3031. These events are part of a broader program; nine communities in Northwest Wisconsin have joined together to host performance events from June 7th to June 16th. The Remember Project is part of the family of programs & services of Trellis, helping people optimize well-being as they age (www.trellisconnects.org).

Description: Sherry Pearce of Cambridge plays Mona and Darrell Johnston of Minneapolis plays her son David in the play “Fortune Cookies” by Bonnie Dudovitz of Minneapolis.


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